MCCS Joins New Alliance for Fast-Tracking Workforce Training for Maine’s Defense Sector Jobs

March 1, 2024

SANFORD, ME — The Maine Community College System (MCCS) announced its membership Friday in a new public-private alliance dedicated to coordinating efforts to attract and train thousands of new employees for critical jobs in the state’s defense industrial base.

MCCS is a founding member of the Maine Defense Industry Alliance (MDIA), a non-profit coalition of Maine defense companies, community colleges and universities, state agencies, and the U.S. Navy, officials announced Friday at a press conference at York County Community College’s Sanford Instructional Site.

Maine Governor Janet Mills, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree joined MDIA members at the event Friday, joined by the Honorable Nickolas Guertin, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition.

“We now have a powerful public-private partnership that is Maine’s coordinating body for workforce development for Maine’s defense manufacturers. The Maine Defense Industry Alliance will put training opportunities on the fast track and create new opportunities for the state’s defense employers and Maine’s workforce,” said MCCS President David Daigler, who is serving as the inaugural co-chair of the MDIA board of directors.

The first round of funding for MDIA includes $3.5 million towards a $6.5 million project to create a new welding lab and expand manufacturing and trade programs at York County Community College. There is an immediate, pressing need in Maine to hire more people trained in precision machining, welding, marine design, manufacturing, and advanced manufacturing.

Over the next five years, Maine’s defense contractors and subcontractors must add 8,000 skilled workers. Over that same period, an additional 10,000 workers already employed will need additional training and education to hone their skills for these advanced manufacturing jobs.

“This should be the first of many MDIA projects that will boost resources across the state to increase workforce training for good defense sector jobs in Maine,” Daigler said. “We’re very proud to be part of this collaboration and expect it will mark a new era for supporting workers and companies in the state’s defense sector.”

Founding members of MDIA are, from education: MCCS; Maine Maritime Academy; the University of Maine System and the Roux Institute of Northeastern University; from industry: General Dynamics Bath Iron Works; Portsmouth Naval Shipyard; and Pratt & Whitney North Berwick Aero Systems; and from government: Maine Department of Economic & Community Development; Maine Department of Education; Maine Department of Labor; and Maine International Trade Center.