Monday, July 16, 2012

YCCC to get $257,000 for precision machining program

WELLS - Legislation sponsored by Rep. Devin Beliveau, D-Kittery, to establish a jointly-operated Precision Tool program between York County Community College (YCCC) and Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) received start up funding from the Appropriations Committee on May 16. The bill was then passed unanimously in the House and Senate.
The legislation provides $257,000 in start-up costs for the new precision machine tool program in 2012-2013 and also provides for ongoing funding to the community college system going forward. In addition, there is $1 million earmarked in the education bond to pay for infrastructure improvement and equipment needed to start the program.
“This education bond will enable YCCC to purchase the machinery needed for a cutting edge precision machine tool program,” said Beliveau.  “This is a wise investment that will create great new jobs in York County. I am both thrilled and grateful that the Appropriations Committee and the Maine Legislature voted to pass LD 627 and fund this fantastic job creating opportunity.”
The three of the largest employers in York County are Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Pratt & Whitney and General Dynamics. All three heavily depend on the technical skills of Precision Machinists and no postsecondary program currently exists in York County for this type of training. The new program will produce Precision Machinists who have the technical skills that are needed for these well-paying jobs that start at $18-$20 an hour.
This program will provide residents of York County with the opportunity to earn an associate degree in their backyard and be qualified for high skill high wage jobs. Pratt & Whitney contributed an initial $100,000 to The Foundation for Maine’s Community Colleges designated specifically for the program.
“York County Community College is absolutely delighted with the support of the York County legislative delegation for the bill initiated by Rep. Devin Beliveau to support a Precision Tool program in York County,” said Charles Lyons, president of YCCC. “This industry, throughout York County, provides an endless stream of great jobs for entrants over the next several years. Without the support of the legislature and Governor LePage we would have had a very difficult time supporting the needs of these new workers.”
Both LD 627 and the education bond are awaiting the governor’s signature. The education bond would then need to be approved by the voters.