A partnership launched two years ago by Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle and the Loring Job Corps Center in Limestone is proving successful, according to representatives of each institution.
Utilizing free-time between classes to get ahead in their studies recently were, from left, David Terhune of Portland; Dijon Lewis of Bronx, N.Y. and Yusuf Ghodgeri of Worcester, Mass. The three Loring Job Corps Center students are among the 22 students attending NMCC this semester, a record number since the two institutions signed an Advanced Career Training Partnership two years ago.
The Advanced Career Training (ACT) program, introduced in November 2008 by NMCC and JLCC, is bolstering student college aspirations and helping to increase enrollment. The educational opportunities provided through the partnership have been marketed nation-wide to all 122 Job Corps sites in the United States, which resultantly has brought students from across the country to northern Maine seeking a better education.
NMCC has recorded its highest number of students to date from LJCC this past semester. Twenty-two former Job Corps students are currently enrolled in academic programs on the Presque Isle campus, up from just 12 students last fall and a significant increase from the eight enrolled in spring 2009 during the first full semester of the ACT program’s implementation.
“Through this partnership we are able to share the vision of college with our students at the time of their enrollment at our center,” said Dr. Dottie Martin, director of learning at LJCC. “We are able to identify early on, through our initial educational assessment processes, the students who have the commitment, drive and ability to participate in the college process. In team discussions with students, staff members are able to give each student a personal calendar of achievements that will assist them in understanding the LJCC completion process and how it will align with college enrollment.
The ACT program gives students the opportunity to receive advance education/technical training beyond the traditional Job Corps programs. Students who have shown outstanding achievements in their academic and vocational training may be recommended for the ACT program by their instructor(s) or a counselor, and may request consideration for the program themselves. Qualifying students may spend up to three years in Job Corps.
When the partnership was first announced two years ago, NMCC was one of only a handful of colleges in the country to offer the ACT program. Martin and NMCC Dean of Students Dr. William Egeler credit the cooperation of NMCC staff and LJCC career counselors who work students through the financial aid and application process as key to successful transition.
“Over the years, we have worked diligently to provide academically capable Job Corps students an opportunity to continue their education and training at the collegiate level. Our partnership has helped to ensure that LJCC students have the support systems in place, which are so crucial to academic success,” said Egeler. “We are very pleased with our relationship and the mutual commitment to continue to make it even better serves both institutions well. The early introduction of students to the College and the sharing of academic standards for admission have led to some of our Job Corps students ranking among our top academic achievers.”
Egeler points to the success of efforts to transition students from LJCC to NMCC as evidenced by the fact that last semester eight of the 12 students attending the College were named to the Dean’s List.
Yusuf Ghodgeri of Worcester, Mass. is among those high-honors students. A computer electronics student, Ghodgeri lives at LJCC and attends class daily on the Presque Isle campus.
“It’s a great opportunity to be able to study at NMCC and remain part of the Job Corps program. I might not have otherwise been able to afford to get my associate’s degree,” said Ghodgeri. “You need a degree to get most jobs today.”
Ghodgeri completed the computer networking program at LJCC in late 2009 and began taking classes at NMCC in January 2010. He will graduate from the college in May 2012 and hopes to continue his education at either the University of Maine in Orono or the University of Maine at Fort Kent.
Like all LJCC students, Ghodgeri was given a tour of the area during his fourth week at the center; NMCC is one of the key stops on that tour.
Students participating in the ACT program are provided transportation to and from the NMCC campus, noon meals and regular contact with career counselors. Job Corps students also retain their stipend and clothing allowances.