Maine Community College System

Category: Education
Year of Last Grant Award:2021

The Foundation has made three large-scale grants to support the Maine Community College System (the System) and its colleges. First, in 2012, the Foundation supported the System in purchasing 13 buildings and 600 acres at Good Will-Hinckley, enabling Kennebec Valley Community College to serve an additional 1,500 to 2,000 students. Second, in 2018, the Foundation began funding a System-wide initiative to expand workforce development skills training in high-demand sectors of the Maine economy. And, last, in 2021, the Foundation’s helped the System establish the “Harold Alfond Center for the Advancement of Maine’s Workforce,” a System-wide initiative to provide short-term workforce training programs for more than 24,000 frontline Maine workers over four years.

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A major gift from the Harold Alfond Foundation in 2012 enabled the Maine Community College System to significantly expand access to higher education in the Kennebec Valley region of the state. The gift made possible the acquisition of 600 acres and 13 buildings in Hinckley, ME, resulting in a major expansion of Kennebec Valley Community College. Today, KVCC’s Harold Alfond Campus is home to the state’s first associate degree program in agricultural sciences and to new or expanded programs in sustainable construction, line worker technology, culinary arts, and early childhood education. The campus’ new 16,500 square-foot Center for Science and Agriculture, made possible by the Alfond gift, has provided access to state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, and technology to a previously underserved region of the state.

In 2018, the Foundation supported the Maine Community College System’s initiative to design, market, and deliver new short-term, non-academic credit offerings for underemployed and unemployed adult learners. These offerings are in the high-demand, middle-skill sectors, and include new credentialing and certification programs. The programs are geared towards upskilling incumbent workers and allowing adult learners the option to stack credentials/certifications and apply their on-the-job experience towards college credit. The offerings have been so effective at mobilizing and upgrading the skills and wages of disengaged workers across socioeconomic levels that the System has twice accelerated the program’s timeline, doubling the number of students served compared to the original plan.

Most recently, in 2021 the Foundation built on the success of the 2018 grant project to support the establishment of the “Harold Alfond Center for the Advancement of Maine’s Workforce.” This System-wide initiative is intended to significantly increase access to short-term workforce training programs designed and offered hand-in-hand with Maine employers and directly tied to employment or career advancement opportunities. The project is estimated to serve and help upskill more than 24,000 of Maine’s front-line workers over the next four years. This Foundation grant, combined with state recovery dollars and matching private sector funds, represents the largest investment ever in Maine’s Community College System – and in Maine’s frontline workerforce.