Skip to content

More Than $10 Million for Maine’s Community Colleges and Other Workforce Development Programs Secured by Senator Collins in Funding Bill

Funding will support Maine’s Community Colleges, Husson University, St. Joseph’s College, Thomas College, and other organizations dedicated to workforce development

Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that she secured $10,240,000 for Maine’s community colleges, other local colleges, and workforce development programs in the Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations bills.  


The omnibus funding package passed the Senate by a vote of 68-29.  It will now be passed by the House before heading to the President’s desk to be signed into law.


“In addition to competing in a global economy, our nation faces the economic challenge of emerging from a historic pandemic,” said Senator Collins.  “Business owners throughout Maine have told me that they have jobs available but have difficulty finding qualified and trained workers to fill these vacant positions.  Job training creates economic opportunities by aligning employees’ skills with employers’ needs, preparing individuals for a successful future in their chosen field.  By supporting Maine’s Community Colleges, Husson University, St. Joseph’s College, Thomas College, and other organizations dedicated to workforce development, this funding will provide students with the skills they need to prepare for rewarding careers in industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, cybersecurity, and health care.”


“With these CDS projects, Senator Collins has put her finger on some of the most critical needs of the state,” said Maine Community College System President David Daigler. “If approved, these investments in Maine’s community colleges will pay off for generations of Mainers. Expanding early childhood education programs means more Mainers can find affordable child care and rejoin the workforce. New resources for e-vehicle programs, rural nursing, year-round agriculture, and welding programs means more skilled workers earning good wages in growing economic sectors. We are grateful Senator Collins has carefully targeted funds for these and other important initiatives in Maine.” 


“Senator Collins continues to be stalwart in her support of Maine’s Community Colleges and Eastern Maine Community College is delighted with the passing of this legislation which will provide vital resources to deliver first responder, nursing, and other healthcare programs to the rural regions of Maine,” said Liz Russell, President of Eastern Maine Community College.  


"The expansion of child care services is essential if we are going to utilize the workforce Maine already has,” said Northern Maine Community College President Timothy Crowley. “Parents—especially mothers—have been unable to join the workforce due to limited child care. Businesses can’t meet demand and economic growth is stunted, but most importantly, families are struggling. During the highest inflation in 40 years, household incomes are constrained by this lack of qualified child care workers. I appreciate Senator Collins’ understanding of this issue and willingness to respond to this crisis."


“I met recently with a group of automobile dealers and independent automotive service companies,” said Joe Cassidy, President of Southern Maine Community College.  “They expressed a universal need for more training to support their work with electric vehicles.  We know with a certainty that the prevalence of electric vehicles will continue to grow in Maine.  This expenditure will position Southern Mine Community College to continue to lead in the area of preparing skilled technicians to work with electric vehicles.”


Details on the workforce development projects are below:  


Aroostook County


Strengthening Rural Entrepreneurship 

Recipient: Northern Maine Development Commission 

Project Location: Caribou, ME

Amount: $90,000 

Project Purpose: To support business growth and job creation in rural areas by expanding business counseling and accelerator trainings for entrepreneurs.


NMCC Early Childhood Education Degree Program Expansion

Recipient: Northern Maine Community College

Project Location: Presque Isle, ME

Amount: $115,000

Purpose: To expand enrollment in NMCC's early childhood education degree program in order to increase the early childhood educator workforce in Aroostook County.


Cumberland County


Southern Maine Community College Facility Purchase and Certificate Program

Recipient: Southern Maine Community College

Project Location: Brunswick, ME

Amount: $1,000,000

Project Purpose: To purchase a facility to support Controlled Environment Agriculture and to initiate a certificate program in greenhouse management and horticulture. This programming will help educate Maine businesses, communities, and citizens about ways to foster year-round food and plant growth, including through workforce skills training and industry workshops.


Electric Vehicle Automotive Certification Expansion

Recipient: Southern Maine Community College (SMCC)

Project Location: South Portland, ME

Amount: $750,000

Project Purpose: To fund the newly implemented electric vehicle repair certification program.


St. Joseph's College Front Line Health Care Workforce Training

Recipient: Trustees of St. Joseph's College

Project Location: Standish, ME

Amount: $1,165,000

Purpose: To renovate a facility to train nursing students to enter the home care workforce serving Maine's elderly population.


Franklin County


CES Youth Workforce and Building Community Planning

Recipient: Center for Entrepreneurial Studies

Project Location: Farmington, ME

Amount: $250,000

Project Purpose: To develop a parcel and build two facilities for a Youth Center where

internships and entrepreneurial opportunities will be available to youth aged 14-24.


Hancock County


Dedham/Lucerne Fire Station Addition

Recipient: Town of Dedham

Project Location: Dedham, ME

Amount: $250,000

Project Purpose: To build fire station barracks for full-time staff and student trainees from the Fire Science program at Eastern Maine Community College.


Kennebec County


Thomas College Project Sentinel

Recipient: Thomas College

Project Location: Waterville, ME

Amount: $974,000

Purpose: To provide a pipeline for qualified students into Thomas College's undergraduate and graduate degree programs in cybersecurity in order to expand the pipeline of professionals in the cybersecurity field, which is in high demand.


Penobscot County


Husson University STEM Workforce Expansion

Recipient: Husson University

Project Location: Bangor, ME

Amount: $726,000

Pumose: To purchase high-tech science lab equipment to enable Husson University to expand enrollments and add new programs to meet workforce needs by providing experiential learning and skills-based training that will prepare students for health care and STEM careers.


Rural Nursing, First Responder, and Allied Health Workforce Training Initiative

Recipient: Eastern Maine Community College

Project Location: Bangor, ME

Amount: $1,350,000

Purpose: To expand health care training programs that provide hands-on and remote training to rural health care workers and prospective workers as part of licensing and certification programs.


Maine Sawmill Training and Education Center

Recipient: University of Maine System

Project Location: Orono, ME

Amount Requested: $750,000

Project Purpose: To repurpose existing equipment and create a centrally located sawmill operations training facility. This facility will provide year-round workforce training for students and professionals in the forest products industry. 


Somerset County


Kennebec Valley Community College Structural Repairs

Recipient: Kennebec Valley Community College

Project Location: Fairfield, MEcam

Amount: $515,000

Project Purpose: Structural repairs to two buildings on campus that are on the National Register of Historic Places.


Student Support and Student Success Center

Recipient: Kennebec Valley Community College

Project Location: Fairfield, ME

Amount: $145,000

Purpose: To increase student access to academic supports, centralize and strengthen advising services, and enhance technology support for students and faculty. This project will improve student degree and credential completion outcomes.


York County


Apex Futures Focus Job Readiness Center 

Recipient: Apex Youth Connection 

Project Location: Biddeford, ME

Amount Requested: $750,000 

Project Purpose: To acquire a building to support and expand a job readiness program, which will help the community’s most at-risk young people attain job and life skills training. 


Welding Training Facility Expansion

Recipient: York County Community College

Project Location: Wells, ME

Amount: $1,500,000

Project Purpose: To expand and renovate an existing Welding Training Facility at the York County Community College Sanford Instructional Center. This upgraded facility will include a state-of-the-art welding instruction lab and classroom.