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Maine's Community College System sees decline in enrollment

The community college system has seen almost a 6% decline in enrollment for traditional students, but a 70% increase in career programs

MAINE, USA — Maine's Community College System is seeing a decline in students who are coming to college right out of high school. That's because many of them are jumping right into the workforce instead.

There is still a staffing shortage in many industries, and that's what community colleges are focusing on right now.

"Especially a decline among traditional students," David Daigler, president of Maine's Community College System, said.

He added this is because there are high-paying entry-level jobs in fast food and construction that many people are opting for after high school instead of going right into a college program.

"It is a problem in the long term," Daigler said.

That long-term problem is forcing many students back to school later in life.

Daigler added that enrollment is down 5.9% in traditional students but enrollment is UP 70% in short-term workforce programs. A number of those are run through the Harold Alfond Center for the Advancement of Maine's Workforce, including a program with Hospitality Maine.

"We're putting a message out that hospitality careers are available to anyone at their career level from new students to mid-career to older Mainers," Matt Lewis, Hospitality Maine executive director, said.

The Alfond Grant is a $60 million grant aimed at offering scholarships to train more than 24,000 Maine workers.

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