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New programs launched at UM Machias

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MACHIAS Five major new initiatives have been launched at the University of Maine at Machias to help students succeed in coursework and workforce development, including partnerships with Maine Indian Schools, Community Caring Collaborative and Jobs for Maine Graduates. These include a summer Bridge Program, a Supplemental Instruction Program, Wabanaki Cultural Center Educational Technician Program, support for students in the Jobs for Maine Graduates program, and Family Futures Downeast, an innovative education program that supports parents and children.

'These new innovative programs reflect the dedication of the faculty and staff to each student's success,' UMM Interim President Stuart Swain said. 'I am glad that our partnerships are resulting in tremendous opportunities for our students and communities.'

To address the area of developmental coursework, UMM has created a bridge program designed to improve college readiness of incoming science students who are placed into a developmental math course. The intensive program consists of up to two hours of math instruction each day, several hours of field data collection, and data analysis where they apply the math skills, and at least two hours targeted at improving study skills and developing a growth mindset. In the initial class, seven of the nine participants advanced to at least the next math course in the sequence, and five of the students ultimately placed out of any developmental math course.

UMM has also implemented a new Supplemental Instruction (SI) program for first year science and math courses with traditionally low success rates. The SI program, a nationally recognized best practice model, provides extra support available for all students in the course. Students who attended these SI sessions reported that they learned study skills they could apply to their other courses to help them be more successful.

The Education Program at UMM and Maine Indian Schools (MIS) have partnered to create a program to provide Education Technicians with either graduate with a four-year degree or obtain enough college credits to qualify for advance level Education-technicians. This program entails UMM offering two courses per semester at the Wabanaki Cultural Center in Calais after school hours.

UMM is also one of two UMS sites partnering with Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) to offer additional supports for first-generation college students, including former foster children and GED recipients. There are currently 38 students coded for these categories, and the JMG coordinator has been reaching out to them to provide advising, mentoring, and other academic and social supplemental services. These supports include individualized learning and career plans, financial guidance, referrals, and ongoing assessments. The coordinator is also partnering with Washington County Community College, which offers the additional benefit of bringing our two institutions closer together.

In a major collaboration, UMM is working with the Community Caring Collaborative, Washington County Community College, and other community partners to develop a unique program for low income families in the region. Family Futures Downeast (FFD) is a two-generation program that provides a certificate in Family Studies to qualified adult learners while their young children attend Head Start programs on either campus. The curriculum is aligned with workplace readiness provided by Axiom Education and Training Center, and features introductory level courses which constitute a full semester of general education requirements. This allows these students to continue in a degree program, or transfer to another campus within and between each system. The program was one of only ten initiatives nationwide designated by the White House as a Rural IMPACT demonstration site, and the only one so recognized in New England. The program is set to launch summer 2016.

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