Bridge Program Announced At UTC In Bangor 

The United Technologies Center in Bangor has plans to bridge the gap between high school and college.Through a new program, high school students will get hands-on vocational and technical training while picking up Community College credits.Governor LePage and Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen toured U-T-C Monday to help advance the school’s new bridge program.”It’s getting everyone’s attention,” said Governor LePage. “And that’s the whole goal is to get people thinking about it, working on it and what’s interesting here is they’re developing a curricular from the high school right through the university system and that’s key. A path to success and everyone is cooperating and that’s the crucial thing is getting everybody working together.”Fifteen students from Hermon High School will be part of the pilot program. According to Hermon’s Superintendent of Schools Patricia Duran the bridge program will cover a void for Maine students. “Definitely there’s a need for it and what we’ve already discovered is we have not advertised the program yet, we’ve not put it on our program of studies however we’ve already had students coming to us asking about it. We’ve had parents coming to us saying how can i get my child involved because they’re seeing how beneficial this is going to be.”It will be a five year program and give the students not only a high school diploma but also an associates degree in their field of study to take into the workforce or to continue their education.”We know that there are other areas of the state where the Community Colleges and the Career Technical Centers are talking about maybe duplicating this so we know a lot of people are watching this project to see if it’s going to work and it may become a model for the entire state,” said Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen. “We can set up these kinds of things and every Career Technical Center aligned to all of the Community College campuses connected to all of the High Schools I think we’d do a tremendous amount of good for kids.””I think it’s very, very important for a lot of kids that are going to go into the STEM educations, Engineering, and Math and Technology because they will already have work experience in the field as they go into study” said Governor LePage. “And they’re earning a living to help lower the cost of their higher education.”