Engineering class using a 3D printer

Maine College of Engineering, Computing, and Information Science

$150 million for a multi-university Maine College of Engineering, Computing and Information Science to be cooperatively led by the University of Maine including a $75 million commitment from the Harold Alfond Foundation with a match obligation of another $75 million

A statewide, integrated solution to providing the technical workforce and innovations that are critical to moving Maine’s economy forward

MCECIS is focused on the future: High performing, impactful public higher education service has to include anticipating state workforce needs and delivering solutions that provide critical industries, communities, and employers with the skilled workers needed to meet demand and move Maine forward. It is about providing the number of graduates with the requisite skills to maintain our state infrastructure and institutions, pursue opportunities in emerging markets, and grow the Maine economy.

MCECIS will deliver solutions: Thousands of new engineering and computing graduates are needed to replace members of Maine’s existing workforce, and to fill new jobs that will have to be created in our increasingly interconnected, digital global economy. The development of the Maine College of Engineering, Computing, and Information Science is a transformational, forward-looking approach to planning and solution delivery for the University of Maine System.

MCECIS is a statewide approach: The UMS TRANSFORMS MCECIS initiative is led by UMaine College of Engineering Dean Dana Humphrey, Professor and UMaine School of Computing and Information Science Director Penny Rheingans, and Dean and Professor of the USM College of Science, Technology, and Health Jeremy Qualls. It seeks a statewide solution that will provide  additional undergraduate engineering programs at the University of Maine and University of Southern Maine, UMaine graduate engineering programs offered in Portland, expanded pathways into the statewide college from all University of Maine System universities, community colleges, and K–12, and new opportunities for shared programs, interdisciplinary structures and partnerships.

Visioning Session

This initiative is in the early stages of development. Recently, a visioning session was held. The goal of the session was to seek broad input from industry, practicing technical professionals, community, and educators. Over 200 members of industry and education participated in the virtual session Jan. 21. Below are selected segments from the kickoff session.

Employment in Maine

The next generation of Maine’s workforce

Maine currently has one of the oldest populations in the country. What this means is that as the current workforce begins to retire, they will leave behind a large gap in the workforce. In the next 10 years, Maine will need to replace 4,000 engineering and computing jobs. MCECIS plans to meet that demand head on by increasing the number of industry leading graduates. 

The state is not only looking toward job replacement, it also is looking toward job growth. As Maine’s economy continues to grow, the expected need for graduates in the next 10 years is expected to reach up to 5,000 new engineering and computing jobs.

Jordon Gregory in pilot plant 121520

Supply and demand comparison

The need for graduates of Maine universities has never been higher. Currently there are more engineering and computing jobs available than there are graduates.

From 2006 to 2019, Maine has seen a dramatic increase in the number of available engineering and computing positions. The strong growth has seen over 5,000 new positions created in the two fields.

Profession Maine Number of Starter Jobs* Maine Degree Conferrals 2019 Maine Ratio Jobs/Degrees
Civil engineer 191 92 2.1
Electrical engineer 190 60 3.2
Land surveyor 29 12 2.4
Computer support specialist 325 201 1.6
System analyst 204 149 1.4
*0-2 years experience; last 12 months Source: Burning Glass Labor Insight

Ferland Engineering Education and Design Center

Building the future

The initiative also will include renovations to UMaine’s engineering education infrastructure in addition to the new Fernald Engineering Education and Design Center in Orono, slated for completion in summer 2022.

The E. James and Eileen P. Ferland Engineering Education and Design Center (FEEDC) is a multi-use academic and laboratory building destined to become the heart of undergraduate engineering education at the University of Maine. This three-story, 107,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility will help meet Maine’s engineering workforce needs and address increased enrollment demands for UMaine’s engineering programs.