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February 14, 2019

NMCC instructional tech grants to foster employment opportunities

The Northern Maine Community College Foundation has awarded a round of grants designed to support hands-on learning in technology at the college and improve the skill set of graduates to meet the needs of employers.

Grants covered a new medical coding set-up for medical coding students, a comprehensive tooling inventory and management system for the precision machining technology program, and an upgraded television monitor to improve student group work and presentations in the business technology department, according to a Feb. 5 news release.

The investments were made possible by the foundation's Investing in Innovation Fund.

Since 2008, the fund has provided approximately $40,000 toward the purchase of equipment that would not otherwise be funded through department budgets. This year's grants totaled more than $6,000.

Area business and community leaders regularly confer with college officials regarding current technological needs in the workplace to help shape the educational and training opportunities provided by the college.

"This new equipment replicates technology used in hospitals and health care settings," medical coding instructor Rhonda Harvey said in the release of the medical coding award. "By having this technology integrated into the curriculum, students gain a distinct advantage as they enter the workforce."

Of the tooling inventory and management system, called a "vending machine," precision machining technology instructor Dean Duplessis said, "The vending machine will prepare students for the actual experience of working for a company, utilizing modern secured delivery methods for tooling, and requiring better organization skills. All of which will make the graduate of the precision-machining technology program a better employee."

Last December, new Aroostook Partnership President and CEO Paul Towle, speaking at the partnership's annual meeting at Northern Maine Community College, identified workforce development as a major goal for 2019.

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