SMCC, Adult Ed programs form partnership to help students overcome obstacles to college

Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) and Cumberland County Adult Education programs have entered into a partnership to help Mainers overcome barriers to earning a college education.

SMCC and Cumberland County Adult Education program directors signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday for Adult Education to have office space on the SMCC South Portland Campus to provide adult learners free assistance with reading, writing and math skill development to prepare for college-level courses. Adult Education staff will also provide support and guidance with exploring academic programs, applying to SMCC and navigating the college entry process.

The services, funded through a Maine College and Career Access (MCCA) grant, are available to any student wanting to improve placement test scores or needing assistance with skills development or the college application and financial aid application process.

“By having an office on our South Portland Campus, MCCA is able to provide the guidance and services that adult learners need to enter college,” said Paul Charpentier, SMCC Vice President and Academic Dean. “Once they are in college, SMCC will provide the support they need to succeed academically, achieve their goals and position themselves for bright futures.”

The Maine College and Career Access program is part of Maine Adult Education, a statewide system of local adult education programs. MCCA supports adult learners who are transitioning into college and career training programs by providing access to instruction and advising services to establish a solid foundation for success in furthering their education.

Adult education programs in Cumberland County helped drive the effort to establish an MCCA office at SMCC, said Stephanie Haskins, director of Gray-New Gloucester Adult and Community Education.

“For many years, students have been paying college tuition rates for noncredit classes when they could have accessed them through their local Adult Education,” she said. “This agreement signifies a new era in not only preparing learners for the rigors of college and career training, but doing so on the campus where they will access these programs.”

Photo: Shown at Wednesday’s signing ceremony are:
Front: Shelli Pride of Gorham Adult Education and Westbrook Adult Education; Stephanie Haskins of Gray-New Gloucester Adult & Community Education; and SMCC President Joe Cassidy.
Middle: Anita St. Onge of Portland Adult Education; Gail Senese of the Maine Department of Education-Adult Education; Lisa Knedler of Maine Department of Education-Adult Education; Linda Winton of Bonny Eagle Adult Education; Joan Tremberth of Scarborough Adult Learning Center; and Madelyn Litz of Lake Region & Fryeburg Area Adult Education.
Back: Tom Nash of Windham-Raymond Adult Education; SMCC Vice President and Academic Dean Paul Charpentier; Kelley Heath of Maine Department of Education-Adult Education; and David Brenner of South Portland Adult Education.