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Dem Govs Get It Done: Gov. Janet Mills’ Free College Program Will Bolster Maine’s Workforce and Boost Economy

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Gov. Janet Mills is earning widespread praise for addressing gaps in Maine’s workforce pipeline with her program to fund two years of free community college for high school students graduating during the pandemic.

In Maine, more people are aging out of the workforce than are coming in, so the sooner students can earn degrees, the sooner they can become productive members of the workforce.

Andrew Morong, a Maine community college associate dean, said his school has seen a 20 percent rise in the number of new students registering and putting down deposits.

“I think this free college scholarship is, no pun intended, the shot in the arm that we needed,” he said.

The program is likely to have additional ripple effects on the state’s economy, too. “If this opens the door and gets [low-income] students engaged and thinking about college, it’ll be the best thing for Maine, the best thing for our economy,” said David Daigler, president of the Maine Community College System.

DGA Senior Communications Advisor Christina Amestoy said: “Gov. Janet Mills’ bipartisan leadership is making a real difference for Maine’s education system and economy.”