More than 90% of Mainers live within 25 miles of a community college, yet many are unaware of the opportunities these institutions offer. This is true for Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) in Fairfield, which, like the six other community colleges in Maine, still struggles with the perception that it is simply a “technical school.”
The reality is that over the past decade KVCC has grown rapidly into a comprehensive community college offering two-year degrees and certificate programs in a wide range of business, education, health, and liberal studies fields in addition to its well-known trades and technology programs.
KVCC has also emerged as an attractive “gateway” option to advanced degrees, with many students taking advantage of its affordable tuition rates and credit-transfer agreements with partners such as the University of Maine to save money on the first two years of a four-year degree.
People who have not visited KVCC’s Fairfield campus for several years are often amazed at the changes they find, from building improvements, to high-tech equipment, to a college population that is increasingly young and diverse. The familiar programs on which the College’s early success was based are still offered, but unique new programs have been added in careers ranging from computer science to medical imaging to renewable energy.
Even KVCC’s renowned trades and technology programs have changed with the times. Precision Machining Technology students now design machine parts and test them on computer models, before ever committing them to steel. Electrical Technology students not only learn the complexities of wiring homes and industries, but how to install solar electric and small wind turbine power systems for them. In most classes, students are now more likely to reach for a laptop than a hand tool.
In addition, KVCC offers a comprehensive schedule of continuing education courses and business and industry outreach programs that ensure a close relationship with area employers.
As KVCC’s programs have grown, so have its support systems. Many students face enormous personal and financial obstacles as they pursue an education. To help them reach their potential, the College has ramped up everything from scholarships to tutoring and remedial courses.
This combination of affordability, strong support services, and in-demand education is keeping KVCC’s success rates high. Within six months of graduation, more than 94% of KVCC graduates either land jobs in their field or enroll in other institutions to continue their education.
Founded in 1969 in a wing of a local high school with fewer than 200 students during its first year of operation, KVCC today is located on an attractive 68-acre campus in Fairfield with six modern buildings and an off-campus Augusta site, and enrolled more than 2,500 students in the fall of 2010.
Today’s students face challenging economic times, but Kennebec Valley Community College can help them meet those challenges. If you haven’t visited KVCC lately, we invite you to go to kvcc.me.edu or call 453-5035 to find out what you are missing.