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USM and SMCC sign agreements to address shortage of engineers in Maine

USM President Glenn Cummings and SMCC President Ron Cantor

The University of Southern Maine and Southern Maine Community College signed a series of agreements on April 24 designed to boost the numbers of qualified engineers entering the Maine workforce.

The "2+2" agreements allow associate degree graduates of SMCC 's engineering program to seamlessly enter USM's programs for mechanical and electrical engineering, getting two full years of credit towards a USM baccalaureate degree. The goal is to add well-educated engineers to a Maine workforce that is currently experiencing a shortage of engineers.

"This is a program that benefits the regional economy tremendously," USM President Glenn Cummings said. "As more connections between SMCC and USM make it easier for students to succeed as engineers, our whole economy benefits."

To reach this goal, the schools have been working together for more than two years. SMCC increased the rigor and required math included in its program to match USM's curriculum, said Adam Tambone, chairperson of engineering and electrical engineering technologies at SMCC.

"We really rebuilt the program from the ground up," said Tambone, himself a graduate of USM's engineering department. "We're introducing a whole new population of engineers into Maine."

Group photo of USM and SMCC leadersFor the signing, Tambone, SMCC President Ron Cantor and other SMCC leaders joined several USM representatives including Cummings, Provost Jeannine Diddle Uzzi, Engineering Department Chair Mariusz Jankowski and Carlos Lück, an associate professor of electrical engineering. The event was held in the atrium of the John Mitchell Center on USM's Gorham Campus, where the engineering program is located.

Cantor praised the partnership as part of a growing relationship between SMCC and USM.

"It's just one more of the many pathways that connect our two institutions," Cantor said. "We'll continue to build more pathways so that more Mainers will have the benefits that are delivered by both SMCC and USM."

Last fall, the schools announced "Connected Pathways," which fast-track SMCC graduates into enrollment at USM in a growing variety of baccalaureate programs.

USM currently has about 200 students in its engineering program. They are about evenly split between electrical and mechanical engineering, both of which are fully accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

See the Mainebiz story here.