Public Relations | Press Releases
Release date 09-29-14
KVCC wins $2.5 million federal training grant
Fairfield, ME – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced that Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) has been awarded $2.5 million in federal funding over the next three years to advance health care, social work, and construction careers in Maine through new and existing programs of study.
The grant, awarded through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant (TAACCCT) Program, is projected to serve more than 140 participants during the life of the grant and many more after grant funding ends.
KVCC will use the funds to expand and enhance its existing degree and certificate programs in Medical Assisting and Mental Health while creating a new two-year degree program in Sustainable Timber Frame Design-Build.
KVCC President Richard Hopper said the grant will enable KVCC to better meet employer demand in healthcare fields and develop skills in value-added production related to the growing construction industry.
“The grant will support expansion of KVCC’s programs in Medical Assisting and Mental Health, while introducing a completely new program in timber frame construction,” Dr. Hopper said. “The proposed development of an Associate of Applied Science in Sustainable Timber Frame Design-Build will emphasize specialized carpentry skills related to joinery and fine wood working, linking them with the college’s existing coursework in computer-aided design, energy systems technology, electrical technology, HVAC and related trades. A small portion of the grant will also be used to support a partnership to develop modules in entrepreneurship for the new program to better support KVCC graduates who may wish to pursue self-employment or business development .”
Displaced workers in mid-Maine are expected to benefit from the investment in these diverse programs. Each program targets skills development for a growing segment of the labor market in Maine and also provides options for rapid training or retraining to help graduates find gainful employment and satisfaction. Healthcare and construction are two areas with great promise.
The planned two-year Sustainable Design-Build program to be launched with support from the TAACCCT IV grant is the direct result of a feasibility study conducted with a $138,000 grant from the Maine Timberlands Charitable Trust.
The Sustainable Design-Build program would leverage Maine’s timber assets to generate value-added production while also taking advantage of the space and forestland available at KVCC’s 600-acre Harold Alfond Campus in Hinckley as well as facilities on the Fairfield campus of the College. The unique program would combine traditional carpentry skills in joinery with a focus on sustainable forestry and design methods to develop a range of skills to prepare graduates for lucrative specialties ranging from traditional post-and-beam construction, to historic preservation, to project management.
Timber-frame construction and the art of joinery - joining together pieces of wood to produce more complex items – are skills not currently taught at any college in Maine.
Timber-framing is a centuries-old method of building practiced around the world that connects and gives strength to the beams of an all wooden frame by using joints including mortises and tenons, dovetails, and scarf joints held in place by hardwood pegs and wedges instead of steel plates, and hardware. It was a very common method of building on many early American homesteads such as those found across New England, and its durability and aesthetic appeal have led to a viable niche market for modern builders.
It has been more than a decade since KVCC offered a carpentry program of any kind, and entering timber-frame construction education offers the College an ideal way to create a unique program with a strong forestry connection that capitalizes on Maine’s timber assets and many of the resources KVCC already has, including its many courses and programs in trades and technology, business, renewable energy systems, computer-aided drafting and design, and sustainable agriculture.
Such a program also dovetails well with a shift at KVCC toward programs with a strong entrepreneurial focus to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the construction industry.
Over the last four years, the federal TAACCCT program has invested $21 million in Maine in four rounds of funding, with today’s announcement marking the final round.
KVCC is the only Maine community college to receive funding in each round. The three previous awards for KVCC included:
▪ $350,000 to provide new and expanded training in energy programs.
▪ $2.5 million to create an agriculture-oriented education hub at the new Harold Alfond Campus in Hinckley Maine including new programs in sustainable agriculture and culinary arts.
▪ $2.2 million to create a new option in Computer Systems Integration in KVCC’s two-year degree program in Business Administration, as well as numerous non-credit training programs in a wide range of information technology fields.
TAACCCT funding is issued through a competitive grant program co-administered by the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Education. The grants provide community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher education with funds to partner with employers to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that will help job seekers get the skills they need for in-demand jobs in industries like information technology, health care, energy, and advanced manufacturing.
“These investments will help prepare workers with the skills needed for in-demand careers and advance the role of community colleges as engines of economic growth,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “The award is part of a long-term commitment to ensure that American workers have access to training for the specific skills needed to stay competitive in the ever-changing job market.”
This round of funding builds on the Obama Administration's focus on job-driven training by requiring grantees to expand employer engagement throughout the grant process. These employer and industry partners have identified necessary skills and competencies and will assist in designing curricula, programs, assessments or credentials that will help quickly connect ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs. The grants will expand programs in growing industries, such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, and encourage geographic and industry sector collaboration. All course materials developed using these public funds will be available as Open Educational Resources so that others can access and build on successful training models.
For more on the awards announced today go to: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ETA20141865.htm
KVCC is one of seven community colleges in Maine that operate under the authority of the Maine Community College System Board of Trustees. KVCC is a public, non-profit, post-secondary institution supported in part by State legislative appropriations and federal funds.
The College offers more than 35 programs of study ranging from two-year associate degrees to certificates, as well as a comprehensive schedule of continuing education courses and business and industry outreach programs.
For more information on KVCC go to www.kvcc.me.edu.