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Employer campus visits benefit NMCC students

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Northern Maine Community College officials know the value of strong relationships between employers, educators and students, as evidenced by three fall semester campus visits from General Electric, Pratt & Whitney and the Associated General Contractors of Maine.

The October visit from the Associated General Contractors of Maine was an opportunity to meet with Building Construction students. Members offered information about employment opportunities and encouraged the students to “stick with it” and earn their associate’s degree.

Later in the semester, representatives from General Electric and Pratt & Whitney visited students in the Precision Machining Technology (PMT) program.

“Visits from potential employers, as well as visits to potential employer facilities, put everything into perspective,” said Dean Duplessis, PMT instructor. “Students identify with the demand for skilled workers in this particular field, and furthermore, the student identifies with the appropriateness of the skills being taught in the program.”

Finding skilled employees is a challenge for many employers these days, so campus visits play a vital role in maintaining and building a workforce.

“We need employees with the skill sets developed by these colleges,” said Russell Chaput, associate director of human resources for Pratt & Whitney’s North Berwick facility. “By connecting with these programs and students on a regular basis, we continue to grow our talent pipeline with the skills and talent needed to support our growth.”

General Electric brought technicians and engineers to tour the Precision Machining Technology lab to offer first-hand accounts of what it is like actually to work in the trade.  

“The purpose of the visits is to highlight the students, who are engaged in discussions about their respective projects,” said Duplessis. “The discussions exemplify the program’s ability to meet or exceed the level of preparation an employer is seeking. It’s important for employers to recognize the inherent strengths of the PMT program at NMCC; the level of preparation via real-world projects sends that very message, and employers leave with a sense of exuberance.”

Duplessis added companies have the opportunity to pre-interview students in their program environment.

 “The work-like setting makes for a comfortable environment for a student and potential employer to discuss projects, best practices, applications and the like in a way that establishes a level playing field for the student – it’s on their turf,” he said.

Feedback from employers has been overwhelmingly positive. Pratt & Whitney wrote: “The Northern Maine Community College PMT program impressed us with their attention to the needs of manufacturing and the importance of creating a positive working relationship between the employer and the employee. The program curriculum is robust and provides real, industry-style training. Students are knowledgeable, skilled, polite, and highly motivated to do great work.”

For more information about NMCC’s Precision Machining Technology or Building Construction Technology programs, visit www.nmcc.edu.

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