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Maine Technical College System

News Release

Tuesday, June 5, 2001
CONTACT: Alice Kirkpatrick
Tel: (207) 767-0116, ext. 3

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Technical College System (MTCS) and Maine Metal Products Association (MMPA) have teamed up to create a new scholarship for students interested in a career in precision manufacturing. The Dirigo Machine Tool Scholarship covers one year of tuition at a technical college — a value of about $2,400 — in exchange for a one-year commitment to work for a sponsoring MMPA member company.

"Maine has hundreds of good jobs at excellent wages going unfilled in the precision manufacturing industry," says MTCS President John Fitzsimmons. "Maine also has thousands of talented workers who lack the skills to qualify for these jobs, and the funds to pay for college. We hope this scholarship will attract students to this dynamic, growing industry, one of the shining stars of the Maine economy," he said.

A recent survey conducted by the Maine Metal Products Association found that over 1,500 machine tool positions are vacant in Maine. The jobs, which include machinists, welders, computer programmers and others, have starting salaries ranging from $25,000 to $35,000 a year. There are 467 precision manufacturing companies in Maine.

Five of Maine's seven technical colleges offer machine tool programs and will participate in the scholarship. They include Central Maine Technical College in Auburn, Eastern Maine Technical College in Bangor, Kennebec Valley Technical College in Fairfield, Northern Maine Technical College in Presque Isle and Southern Maine Technical College in South Portland.

The deadline to apply for the scholarship is July 15. There are 17 scholarships available for Fall 2001. The scholarships will be jointly funded by the MTCS, MMPA and the scholarship recipientís sponsoring company.

Applicants must be Maine residents and meet the admissions standards for a machine tool program at a participating technical college. MMPA member companies will interview and select the scholarship recipients. The scholarship covers tuition only; students are responsible for fees, books, and related expenses. For a copy of the scholarship application form, applicants should contact the admissions office at one of the participating colleges, or go to the Maine Technical College System web site.