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Maine Community College System

News Release
GOVERNOR BALDACCI PROCLAIMS APRIL "COMMUNITY COLLEGE MONTH"

Maine Colleges Plan Events to Celebrate First Year as Community Colleges

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, March 26, 2004
CONTACT: Alice Kirkpatrick
Tel: (207) 767-0116, ext. 3
Email: akirkpatrick@mccs.me.edu

AUGUSTA, Maine — Governor John Baldacci proclaimed April "Community College Month" in Maine, in recognition of the colleges' first year as community colleges. The celebration falls a year after the Maine Legislature endorsed the Governor's proposal to rename and broaden the mission of Maine's former Technical Colleges to community colleges.

Maine's seven Community Colleges have planned open houses, workshops and other special events during the month-long celebration. In addition, the Community College System will highlight community college alumni through television PSAs and other activities.

"In their inaugural year, our Community Colleges have delivered beyond our expectations, proving this was the right decision for Maine," said Governor Baldacci. "They've attracted a record number of students - 18 percent more in just one year - and 26 percent more students entering directly from high school. I'm also pleased to see transfer agreements being expanded, which will help increase baccalaureate degree attainment in Maine," he said.

John Fitzsimmons, President of the Maine Community College System, said, "Community Colleges provide opportunities for people of all ages, economic situations and educational backgrounds. Our 95 percent placement rate means our students — from dislocated workers to recent high school graduates — will be well-prepared for good careers here in Maine or for successful transfer to four-year colleges and universities."

There are more than 1,100 two-year community colleges across the U.S, enrolling 44 percent of the nation's undergraduates. In total, 5.4 million Americans are enrolled in credit courses at community colleges, and another 5 million are taking advantage of worker training, personal enrichment and lifelong learning opportunities.

Part of the community college mission is to support economic development through worker retraining and customized education. In the past year, Maine's Community Colleges have partnered with companies all over Maine to add jobs or upgrade the skills of existing employees. These include Jackson Lab in Bar Harbor, CORE, Inc. in Portland, Worldwide Language Resources in Rumford, ATX II in Caribou, Key Collections in Fairfield, among others.

Degree enrollment at Maine's seven Community Colleges has grown 38 percent in just two years. One of the fastest growing programs is the Associate in Arts transfer program, which was created in 1999. Other popular options include nursing and allied health programs, business, multimedia programs and education programs. The colleges' more traditional trade programs are seeing a surge in enrollment as well.

Maine's seven Community Colleges are located in Wells, South Portland, Auburn, Fairfield, Bangor, Presque Isle and Calais. Off-campus centers are located in Bath, Belfast, Caribou, Dover-Foxcroft, Ellsworth, East Millinocket, Houlton and South Paris.

For a list of activities, see our calendar or contact your local Community College. Also check out our facts about community colleges and sample list of Maine leaders who got their start at a community college.

STATE OF MAINE PROCLAMATION

WHEREAS, one year ago, the Maine Legislature endorsed landmark legislation proposed by the Governor to create the Maine Community College System, in order to bring affordable and accessible higher education opportunities to Maine citizens and increase the availability of college-educated workers for Maine businesses; and

WHEREAS, in its first year, the Maine Community College System served over 1,300 more college students — an eighteen percent increase over the year before — and increased the number of students transferring to four-year colleges and universities; and

WHEREAS, Maine's seven Community Colleges now serve over 19,000 Maine citizens each year in career and transfer programs, credit and noncredit courses, and customized training, and play a vital role in enhancing educational opportunities and strengthening economic development in Maine communities; and

WHEREAS, Maine's Community Colleges have a long history of educating and training Maine's workforce for successful careers in Maine, as well as partnering with business and industry to assure a highly skilled workforce for Maine; and

WHEREAS, Maine's Community Colleges play a key role in improving the incomes, quality of life, and opportunities available to Maine citizens — and to making college possible for individuals from diverse backgrounds and those facing barriers to college; and

WHEREAS, the month of April has been proclaimed National Community College Month in recognition of the vital role the nation's 1,171 community colleges play in providing broad access to higher education, serving nearly half of the nations college students; and

WHEREAS, Maine's seven Community Colleges are celebrating Community College Month with events and recognition ceremonies statewide, in honor of their inaugural year as Community Colleges;

NOW THEREFORE, I, JOHN E. BALDACCI, Governor of the State of Maine, do hereby proclaim the month of April, 2004 as

COMMUNITY COLLEGE MONTH

throughout the State of Maine, and urge all citizens to join in this observance.

In testimony whereof, I have caused the Great Seal of the State to be hereunto affixed GIVEN under my hand at Augusta this seventeenth day of March in the Year of our Lord Two Thousand and Four.

John E. Baldacci, Governor

Dan A. Gwadosky
Secretary of State

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