On Nov. 6, voters will have an opportunity to invest $15 million in Maine’s community colleges by voting “Yes” on Question 5.

Question 5 will make important investments in community colleges across the state — expanding educational opportunities, increasing access for students, and helping to ensure that businesses can hire workers who have the skills they need.

Central Maine Community College and the other six campuses of the Maine Community College System are critical to the future of our state, to businesses both large and small, and to students looking for a high-quality, affordable education.

Maine’s community colleges prepare students for “high-pay, high-demand” jobs and help them to stay right here where we need them. However, right now, there are good-paying jobs that are going unfilled because there are not enough people with the right skills to fill them.

Community college graduates form the backbone of Maine’s economy, and include highly trained nurses, police officers, precision machinists, IT professionals, early childhood educators, automotive technicians, plumbers, electricians and much more. They help to drive business growth and innovation. Many of us call them when we need help — whether in an emergency or to solve complicated problems.

The 3,000 students at CMCC are enrolled in more than 40 career, technical and transfer programs. They are getting a high quality, affordable education that will lead to well-paying jobs right here in Maine. Ninety-four percent of our students are Maine residents, and more than 92 percent of our graduates live, work and pay taxes in Maine.


In addition to CMCC’s academic programs, our Center for Workforce and Professional Development offers businesses and employees customized training solutions, professional development and industry-recognized certifications. Our Testing and Assessment Center provides academic, placement and industry certification testing to help students and professionals accomplish their career goals.

For CMCC, Question 5 will invest over $2.5 million to accomplish the following:

• Renovate and expand the Nursing simulation labs;

• Renovate and expand the Automotive Technology wing;

• Improve energy efficiency and install back-up power generation.

Of course, Question 5 invests in all seven campuses of the Maine Community College System, giving them the tools to serve more students and businesses while keeping costs down. If passed, funding will be provided for expansion of science and technology labs; expansion of programs such as diesel hydraulics and industrial mechanics; development of an Industrial Trades Center; and upgrades to information technology infrastructure and energy efficiency.


A “Yes” vote on Question 5 will make a difference in every part of the state, helping to ensure that our community colleges are able to meet the demands of the future while also saving money and keeping higher education within reach for most students.

While many of our students come directly from high school, the majority of them are non-traditional students. The average age of the community college student is 26, and most work at least part-time. While our tuition and fees are the lowest in New England, 75 percent of students receive some type of financial aid.

Maine’s community colleges give students an affordable path to good-paying jobs and careers. They fill an important need to train a new generation of workers for jobs that require high levels of proficiency and technical skill. Those workers are lynchpins in communities around the state. In fact, 92 percent of Maine residents live within 25 miles of a community college campus.

Our community colleges deliver on the promise of providing a high-quality education at a cost that is affordable, but investments are needed to ensure they can continue to provide access to modern facilities and instructional equipment that meets their needs and the needs of their employers.

A “Yes” on Question 5 is a good investment for Maine’s community colleges, our students and our communities.

Scott Knapp, Ed.D., is president of Central Maine Community College in Auburn.

Scott Knapp

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