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October 30, 2018 | last updated October 30, 2018 12:12 pm

USM to launch North Atlantic partnership with goal of growing state's economy

COURTESY / UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE, OFFICE OF MARKETING AND BRAND MANAGEMENT
COURTESY / UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE, OFFICE OF MARKETING AND BRAND MANAGEMENT
University of Southern Maine President Glenn Cummings, shown in this 2016 photo from the Mainebiz archives, will formally announce Thursday that USM is forming the Maine North Atlantic Institute, with the goal of "cultivating a globally competent workforce, helping Maine businesses access the North Atlantic market, increasing cultural connections and studying the impact of climate change on the health of our environment and communities.”

The University of Southern Maine will announce Thursday its intent to form the Maine North Atlantic Institute, a comprehensive economic and educational collaboration working with Maine businesses, colleges and universities and K-12 schools, as well as counterparts in Iceland, Norway and beyond, to provide the tools to support the growth of Maine's economy.

USM President Glenn Cummings will be joined by members of the USM faculty and staff with ongoing projects in the North Atlantic, along with Patrick Arnold, co-founder and CEO of the New England Ocean Cluster House, at the formal announcement scheduled for Thursday morning at the New England Ocean Cluster House on Portland's waterfront.

Thursday's event is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., with remarks to start at 10:30 a.m. It will be held at the New England Ocean Cluster House, 68 Commercial St., with parking available at the Maine State Pier garage or on street.

In a news advisory, USM said the goal of the Maine North Atlantic Institute is "to provide the tools to contribute to the growth of Maine's economy by cultivating a globally competent workforce, helping Maine businesses access the North Atlantic market, increasing cultural connections and studying the impact of climate change on the health of our environment and communities."

Current workforce development projects involving the North Atlantic region include eco-tourism, internships, teacher exchanges, collaborative college classes in innovation and entrepreneurship, salmon land-based farming, waterfront business opportunities, regulatory compliance and coastal law.

USM said "the comprehensive work of the Institute will help position Maine as an economic and educational bridge connecting the United States with the many North Atlantic countries."

"This institute puts Maine in the middle," Cummings said in the news release. "Instead of looking at us at the end of pipeline on the North Atlantic in America, Maine becomes the centerpiece of two major ecosystems, both economically and socially."

Since 2015, USM has partnered with a number of related institutions including the New England Ocean Cluster House (Maine), Reykjavik University (Iceland), the University of Akureyri (Iceland) and University in Tromsr (Norway), and our faculty continue to explore opportunities with others such as University of Aberdeen (Scotland) and the Iceland University of the Arts.

The institute will also expand its collaborative circle to bring in various units of the University of Maine System including the Center for Graduate Professional Studies and the University of New England, among others.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to indicate that the formal announcement will take place Thursday morning. The previous version had incorrectly stated the announcement took place this morning.

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