Governor Mills welcomes First Lady Jill Biden and US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to Maine

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Governor Janet Mills issued the following statement welcoming First Lady Jill Biden and US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to Maine today:

“While I am unable to personally join the visiting dignitaries, I am excited to welcome the First Lady and Secretary Cardona to Maine. My administration’s tuition-free community college initiative and other significant investments from the Biden-Harris administration provide significant new opportunities for Maine people to obtain High-quality education at little or no cost that allows them to get well-paying jobs in remunerative jobs—a win-win for our students, for employers, and for our economy.

“I hope that the success of the Free Community College Initiative—which has led to enrollment in the community college system in Maine—will serve as a model for other states. I look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration in the years to come to provide more pathways to education and well-paying jobs for the people of Maine. When we invest in our greatest assets—the people of Maine—we build a stronger, more prosperous nation.”

Dr. Biden and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, along with Congressman Chile Pingree, will visit Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) this morning as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investment Tour of America to highlight how President Biden’s economic policies have benefited Labor Serious. Americans across the country.

Gov. Mills was scheduled to participate in the visit, but is isolating, working remotely, and continuing to feel ill after testing positive for COVID-19 on Sunday. In the governor’s absence, Economic and Community Development Commissioner Heather Johnson will represent the Mills administration.

During their visit to SMCC, Dr. Biden and Secretary Cardona will learn how the Maine Free Community College Initiative and historic federal investments from the Biden-Harris administration earmarked through the Maine Jobs and Conservative Recovery Plan are creating rewarding new career opportunities for the people of Maine.

In 2022, Governor Mills proposed, and the legislature passed, the Maine Free Community College Initiative to help students whose higher education aspirations have been disrupted by the pandemic pursue affordable higher education and prepare for well-paying careers.

The initiative provides Maine high school graduates of the classes of 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 with a scholarship to cover the cost of tuition for the Maine community college system and mandatory fees, once other available state and federal aid is applied. In the first year of the initiative, enrollment in the Maine community college system increased by a record 12 percent. Governor Mills has proposed continuing the program for students from the graduating high school classes of 2024 and 2025.

Historic investments by the Biden administration are also creating jobs and career opportunities for Maine people in in-demand areas such as precision manufacturing, clean energy and health care. Through the Governor’s Jobs and Recovery Plan, Maine provided $35 million in federal U.S. Rescue funds to create 8,500 new workforce training opportunities at Maine’s seven community colleges in health care, clean energy, manufacturing, hospitality, education, computer technology and trades.