Maine Governor Janet Mills said she wants to use $35 million from federal COVID-19 relief packages to boost workforce training programs at community colleges in her state.
The initiative aims to produce 3,800 healthcare workers, 1,400 green economy workers, 500 early childhood teachers, and 500 hospitality workers.
According to a Portland Press Herald report, the budget will be used to cover tuition and fees for around 8,500 students.
“This is all about workforce needs in Maine and preventing the brain drain we always complain about. Stay here in Maine, come to Maine and get skilled up,” Mills said. “While more traditional manufacturing jobs have decreased in recent years, precision manufacturing is in high demand.”
For Central Maine Community College Interim President Betsy Libby, the investment would be a “game-changer” for students. She cited that the initiative is similar to the 12-week precision machine training academy in Auburn and Oxford where students can complete a course while working and getting paid.
Stimulus Bill for Colleges, Universities
In 2020, Congress passed a stimulus bill granting $23 billion to colleges and universities to assist students in overcoming the various difficulties they have faced during the ongoing pandemic.
Drury University in Missouri has already distributed a total of $1.2 million in COVID-19 relief aid directly to students who demonstrate financial need.
The University of California has also given half of its federal funds to enrollees. However, a student group is demanding school officials distribute the remaining money by giving $900 to economically disadvantaged students.