Kennebec Valley Community College secures $2.5 million grant to enhance agriculture program

Posted March 25, 2013, at 4:52 p.m.

HINCKLEY, Maine — An agriculture-oriented education hub is planned for a new campus at Kennebec Valley Community College.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration awarded KVCC a $2.5 million federal grant, the college announced Monday. The money will be used for the development of the Harold Alfond Campus in Hinckley, KVCC President Barbara Woodlee said.

“We are excited that KVCC is receiving this grant at such a critical time in our development of the Harold Alfond Campus at Hinckley,” she said. “With this support we are now able to proceed with these two important programs this fall and to develop additional programs for the fall of 2014.”

The first planned programs include two-year associate in applied science degrees in Sustainable Agriculture and in Culinary Arts. Both will start in August.

At least four distinct programs offering a dozen career paths are planned, according to the college. The programs, dubbed the KVCC Agriculture Cluster, will be based at the Alfond Campus farm.

Students will obtain technical and small business skills needed to development or manage a small farm or agricultural business through the sustainable agriculture program, KVCC said in a statement. The curriculum will include soil, plant and animal science, crop production, integrated pest management, farm infrastructure and sustainable livestock management.

The curriculum for the culinary arts program will include basic and advanced food preparation techniques, nutrition, menu planning, kitchen sanitation and safety, food purchase and storage and meal serving.

The college is planning two more programs for fall 2014, including food technology and quality control technician.

“The college examined the challenges associated with establishing a secure and sustainable food system in our region and identified these academic programs to support the effort,” said Kathy Englehart, Math and Sciences Department Chair for KVCC.

Both U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, applauded the college’s move.

“KVCC is committed to the highest standards of education, and to improving the economy in Maine through education that meets the needs of our state’s students and employers,” said Collins. “This funding will prove instrumental as KVCC continues to expand and offer innovative programs that will help enhance the local economy and enable graduates to secure good-paying jobs.”

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