University of Maine computer science and computer engineering students networked with Maine information technology professionals and business leaders in a two-hour campus reception Feb. 25, sponsored by Project>Login, the newest program of Educate Maine.
The networking reception was the first in a statewide series of relationship-building events for aspiring IT professionals and potential Maine employers as part of Project>Login’s goal to double the number of computer and technology degree graduates in Maine in four years.
Among the businesses attending the UMaine reception to talk to students about the role of IT in their companies, the opportunities for internships and co-ops, and the need to hire qualified graduates in these fields: Bangor Savings Bank, Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, Unum, Tyler Technologies, Cianbro, WEX and Dead River Co.
“The University of Maine is committed to preparing its graduates for Maine’s future workplace needs,” says UMaine President Paul Ferguson. “Partnering with Project>Login offers even more opportunities for our graduates to help Maine’s economic development. This is in keeping with our role as Maine’s flagship university to be student-centered and community-engaged.”
Project>Login was launched earlier this month with the goal of generating enough trained professionals in computer science, computer engineering and information technology to keep Maine businesses at the forefront of their industries. The initiative is a partnership between he University of Maine System, Educate Maine and private-sector businesses. Educate Maine is a business-led organization whose mission is to champion college, career readiness and increased education attainment.
Four other networking receptions for college students are planned in the state through March 28, coordinated by the University of Maine System.
In addition to networking receptions, Project>Login’s initiatives include internship opportunities with Maine businesses, résumé posting for students, instructional events, educational resources and a network of support designed to grow the computer and technology workforce.
The lack of trained computer and technology professionals is a growing problem nationwide. While the need for this workforce has grown through recent years, the number of college graduates with degrees in this field has dropped. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that by 2018, 1.4 million computing jobs will have opened in the U.S. If current graduation rates continue, only 61 percent of these jobs could be filled by U.S. computing degree-earners. In Maine, only 39 percent of these jobs could be filled by the state’s current rate of graduates.
Project>Login is funded by the University of Maine System and private-sector businesses concerned about the workforce gap. They include Bangor Savings Bank, Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, IDEXX Laboratories, MaineHealth, Pierce Atwood, TD Bank, Unum and WEX.
More than 50 businesses, schools and organizations are providing volunteers to make Project>Login successful.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745; 207.949.4149