​​​SMCC, USM sign agreements to address shortage of engineers in Maine

Southern Maine Community College and the University of Southern Maine signed a series of agreements on April 24 designed to boost the numbers of qualified engineers entering the Maine workforce.

The “2+2” agreements allow associate degree graduates of SMCC ‘s engineering program to seamlessly enter USM’s programs for mechanical and electrical engineering programs, getting two full years of credit towards a USM baccalaureate degree. The goal is to add well-educated engineers to a Maine workforce that is currently experiencing a shortage of engineers.

To reach this goal, the schools have been working together for more than two years. SMCC increased the rigor and required math included in its program to match USM’s curriculum, said Adam Tambone, chairperson of engineering and electrical engineering technologies at SMCC.

“We really rebuilt the program from the ground up,” said Tambone, himself a graduate of USM’s engineering department. “We’re introducing a whole new population of engineers into Maine.”

For the signing, Tambone, SMCC President Ron Cantor and other SMCC leaders joined several USM representatives including President Glenn Cummings, Provost Jeannine Diddle Uzzi, Engineering Department Chair Mariusz Jankowski and Carlos Lück, an associate professor of electrical engineering. The event was held in the atrium of the John Mitchell Center on USM’s Gorham Campus, where the engineering program is located.

Cantor praised the partnership as part of a growing relationship between SMCC and USM. Last fall, the schools announced “Connected Pathways,” which fast-track s SMCC graduates into enrollment at USM in a growing variety of baccalaureate programs.

“It’s just one more of the many pathways that connect our two institutions,” Cantor said. “We’ll continue to build more pathways so that more Mainers will have the benefits that are delivered by both SMCC and USM.”

Cumming said the engineering transfer agreements will benefit the regional economy tremendously. “As more connections between SMCC and USM make it easier for students to succeed as engineers, our whole economy benefits,” he said.