Back to School: What’s New at Maine’s Community Colleges

August 22, 2019

News Release

Contact: Noel Gallagher
W 207-629-4028 

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s community colleges are launching new academic degree and certificate programs, new short-term job training opportunities and unveiling refurbished and new facilities across our seven colleges this fall.

 “We are constantly expanding opportunities for our students and making sure we help them get the best start possible, from short-term training to two-year programs including options to transfer seamlessly to four-year programs,” MCCS President David Daigler said.

“While many of our students will be starting college coursework in the next few weeks, others have been working hard this summer at getting the training and skills they need to participate in this new, more technical economy,” said Daigler, noting the year-round nature of lifelong learning at the system.

“We want to give our students the best shot at a bright future,” Daigler said.

Many of the program changes are driven by shifting needs in Maine’s economy. The state is grappling with the combined impact of an aging workforce, low unemployment and critical workforce shortages across multiple sectors in all corners of our state.

The Maine Community College System plays a critical role in addressing these issues, making strategic changes and investments so more Maine people can gain new skills, and helping grow the state’s economy.

Among the highlights:

  • New classes, courses: CMCC is offering three new degree options this fall: plumbing and heating, HVAC/R, and facilities maintenance and management. YCCC is launching new certificate programs in additive manufacturing, community mental health, and hospitality and tourism management. KVCC’s sustainable construction program has added new courses, certifications, and workshops that offer short- and longer-term training in skills including timber frame joinery and new building and material technologies. WCCC is offering a new associates degree in Electromechanical Instrumentation Technology that builds on the college’s residential and commercial electricity program.
  • One-year certificates for high school students: Dual enrollment students at United Technology Center, the regional career and technical high school, can earn a new one-year certificate in small business from EMCC even before they graduate high school. This program allows graduates to either get an associate’s degree in Business Management at EMCC in just one year, or go to another institution with a year of college credits.
  • Badging: EMCC and CMCC launched new badging initiatives so students can gain new and specialized job skills – from power tool safety to information literacy – quickly and affordably.
  • New facilities: NMCC has a new nursing simulation center and a newly remodeled gymnasium. NMCC is also adding a pneumatic robotic arm to their precision machining program, a virtual anatomy table in the life science courses, a cloud-based conferencing system for the emergency medical services program, and a hydraulic training simulator with electronics for the diesel hydraulics program. CMCC has new and expanded athletic fields, with lights and a synthetic surface. The complex includes NCAA-sized competition fields for baseball, softball, and soccer.
  • Esports at CMCC – for athletes and scholars. CMCC just opened a new 1,600 square-foot high-tech esports arena for its new esports competitive team. The competitive video gaming facility has state-of-the-art Alienware Area-51 Threadrippers, five console stations with Xbox One, PS4 Pro, and Nintendo Switch, and a Twitch broadcast booth for live streaming matches. A massive screen has been installed in the nearby gymnasium for overflow crowds watching tournaments. CMCC is part of the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE.) CMCC is also offering a new esports management degree program this year. NMCC is also starting an esports team this fall.
  • New study abroad opportunities: SMCC’s Global Studies Center is offering its first study-abroad opportunity with a trip to Cuba during the spring semester, to explore Cuba through the lens of arts and science. SMCC is also offering a culinary/hospitality course that includes a travel component to Barcelona.
  • Cyber Security Excellence: SMCC’s cyber security program was recently designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the federal National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

Several of these new programs were developed with special funding.

New state funding in 2017 for workforce development was used to build or expand 10 degree and certificate programs in the trades and technologies. At the same time, MCCS created new regional centers for skills training in manufacturing, commercial driving and nursing.

A new $3.6 million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation, announced in December 2018, funded 11 new workforce training programs that will be starting in the upcoming weeks. Those programs include medical assisting at EMCC and SMCC; welding programs at KVCC and SMCC; and a computer support program at CMCC. Demand for the new programs is very high – there were 235 applications for 40 spots in EMCC’s new medical assisting program.

Classes start on August 26 for students at CMCC, EMCC, NMCC and SMCC, and on September 3 for students at KVCC and YCCC. WCCC students start classes on September 4. Five of the seven colleges offer residence options and students are moving in during the days before school starts.


Maine’s community colleges, which serve about 36 percent of all public college students in Maine, offer nearly 300 options in over 140 occupational fields. More than 75 percent of programs are the only ones of their kind in the state. More information is available at