PORTLAND, Maine – Maine’s community colleges are steadily increasing job training opportunities across the state but additional funding is needed to train more people, Maine Community College System President David Daigler said Wednesday.
“Maine’s community colleges are working to give people the 21st-century skills they need,” he told the audience at Eggs & Issues, a Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce event.
Daigler said that in the last two years, funds from the legislature, bonds, grants, gifts and strategic reserves have been used to purchase new equipment and expand programs, such as new offerings in additive manufacturing, plumbing and heating, healthcare, hospitality and tourism management, sustainable construction and residential and commercial electricity.
New equipment includes nursing simulation centers, life-size virtual anatomy tables, an esports gaming arena and vehicles for the commercial driving license programs.
The system’s short-term training programs are also expanding, but Daigler said additional funding is needed to meet the high demand from both businesses seeking skilled workers and trainees looking to gain or improve their job skills. The training is funded by the MCCS Maine Quality Centers (MQC) program, which partners with Maine employers to provide customized training that is free to trainees.
“Two years ago, we trained just under 1,000 employees” through MQC programs, Daigler said. “This year, in the first six months, we’ve committed to train 2,000. We are well on track to train 4,000 by the end of this fiscal year, but for one small problem: We don’t have funding to support that level of training,” Daigler said.
The state’s new 10-year strategic economic development plan calls for adding 75,000 people to Maine’s workforce over the next 10 years.
“The truth is, Maine needs new investment across its entire educational portfolio, but right now our most critical need is in the short-term training programs,” Daigler said. “I hope you’ll support me as I seek additional funding to keep this momentum.”
A video of Daigler’s remarks at Eggs & Issues will be available on the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce website.
President Daigler also appeared this week on Maine Public’s “Maine Calling” program, as part of a panel discussing the state’s new 10-year strategic economic development plan. A recording of the show is available here.