LIMESTONE, Maine — A collaborative effort by the Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle and Loring Job Corps has proved so successful that the program is being opened to Job Corps students from around the country.
During a news conference this week in Limestone, NMCC and Loring Job Corps officials announced that they had teamed up to offer the Advanced Career Training Program to eligible students from all 122 Job Corps sites in the United States.
“We are very excited about this,” Bill Egeler, the dean of students at NMCC, said Thursday. “This will help us attract students from across the country.”
The ACT Program gives students the opportunity to receive advance education and technical training beyond the traditional Job Corps programs and gives them the best possible start to obtaining a degree.
The program is available at other sites around the country, but in the past Job Corps students could participate in an ACT Program only at a learning institution affiliated with the Job Corps facility they were then attending.
In the past, for instance, NMCC could only the ACT Program offer to students who attended Loring Job Corps. Now, students from another Job Corps — in Nevada, for example — who want to attend NMCC can do so and receive support from Loring Job Corps as long as they have completed their vocational training at the center they attended and met ACT entrance qualifications.
NMCC is now the only site in the country authorized by Job Corps to accept eligible students from other centers.
In expressing his support for the program, Tim Crowley, president of NMCC, said several students from the Loring center have taken classes on campus each semester.
“They have enhanced our campus community, as the courses and programs at NMCC have enhanced the Job Corps students’ educational experience and future opportunity,” he said. “We are pleased to be able to take this model program between our two organizations and expand the offering to students from other Job Corps sites across the nation.”
Job Corps students who have shown outstanding achievements in academic and vocational training may be recommended for the ACT Program by their instructors or a counselor, or may request consideration for the program themselves. Qualifying students may spend up to three years in Job Corps.
Once Job Corps students are accepted into the ACT Program, they receive support from the Loring Job Corps and live on the Limestone campus. The program also provides for transportation to and from the NMCC campus, noon meals and career counselors to work with students. Job Corps students also would retain their stipend and clothing allowances, and all application fees would be waived.
Dottie Martin, director of Learning at Loring Job Corps Center, said she believes the ACT Program was tailored to “help Job Corps students with the transition to college life by establishing a support system.”
“This is going to allow students coming from Job Corps in other parts of the country to co-enroll at NMCC,” she said. “As long as they have completed the vocational training at the Job Corps they are coming from, they can continue their education at NMCC and receive support from us here at Loring. This allows students to continue their education, and the better educated you are, the more opportunities that are out there.”
Loring Job Corps Director Jim Gagnon was similarly excited about the program, saying that “this partnership is extremely beneficial to our students as it provides them with additional opportunities to achieve college level career technical training, an important part of their individual career plan.”