According to experts, within the next few years, a majority of jobs in Maine will require post-secondary education. Yet, little more than half of the students who enroll in college end up staying long enough to earn a degree. Jobs for Maine’s Graduates (JMG) and Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) are excited about a new program aimed at trying to change that. KVCC is one of seven colleges in Maine to offer the new JMG College Success Program; a program that provides students with the one-on-one academic and personal support needed to avoid dropping out of school.
“Having the JMG College Success Program here is great for the students”, says Karen Normandin, Vice President of KVCC. She says the school has had a TRIO program on campus since 1993, which serves students who are low-income, first-generation college students, or those with disabilities. She says, “JMG is a wonderful complement to TRIO.
What I love about these programs is that both understand the importance of connections and relationships. This is where trust is fostered!”
JMG works with 5,500 young people, primarily middle schools and high school students, across the state, keeping them in school and providing them with the skills and guidance needed to be ready for college and careers. Two years ago, JMG leveraged its success with these students and launched the College Success Program; a comprehensive college preparation, bridging and retention program. The program serves students who were in a JMG program in middle school or high school, foster care youth, and those who dropped out of high school and eventually earned their GED.
“These students are full of potential and they need us,” says Jessica Rodrigue, JMG’s College Success Specialist at KVCC.
“One of the most important and exciting elements of the program is getting into the high school classrooms as a way to connect with students and encourage them to further their education. Once they are enrolled here at KVCC, I’m here to guide them and to offer support and encouragement every step of the way, so they can stay in school, get a degree, and go on to do the amazing things they are capable of.”
Rodrigue works closely with the school’s TRIO director, collaborating on students they have in common to make sure the students’ needs are being met, but without duplicating services.
“From freshman year in high school straight through to college graduation, JMG’s College Success Program is there for these students”, says Craig Larrabee, President & CEO of JMG. “And, by partnering with great programs like TRIO, we are confident we can make a difference.”