Press Herald reports on Early College program’s efforts to boost workforce

The Portland Press Herald reported on the University of Maine System’s Early College program and interviewed Brewer High School student Zoe Vittum, who is taking courses at UMaine through the program. The program allows eligible high school students to take college courses online, at their high school or at a nearby college campus, allowing students to get a taste for college and career fields and earn credit, according to the Press Herald. With the goal of encouraging more students to attend college and fill gaps in Maine’s workforce, the program supports workforce development by easing the transition from high school to college to career, the article states. Recent program updates include a component specifically for rural students, online tutoring, and improved coordination among participating high schools. Vittum told the Press Herald she’s taking pre-calculus and English 101 this semester, and plans to enroll in the biomedical engineering program at UMaine following her high school graduation. After that she plans to pursue a research career in a lab or engineering firm. “I have a decent background in mechanical engineering just from the robotics teams that I’ve been a part of and working at the Advanced Manufacturing Center on (the Orono) campus. I’d like to expand my knowledge into biomedical engineering to focus on expanding what you can do with mechanical engineering into things like maybe prosthetics or biomachines,” Vittum said. “I wanted to take on a fairly ambitious workload in terms of the degree that I want to pursue in college, and the Early College program is allowing me to get a good amount of my prerequisites and (general education) done before I actually enter college to make more room in the four years that I’ll be there to do more with academics.” Mainebiz and The Associated Press, citing the Press Herald story, also reported on the program. U.S. News & World Report carried the AP article.