Mainebiz: UMaine System’s $150M graduate center plan addresses need for high-skill workers

From Mainebiz, November 14, 2016.

By James McCarthy

Eliot Cutler, CEO of the Maine Center for Professional Graduate Studies, says the ambitious $150 million proposal to create a new graduate center for business, law and public policy is based on two related premises.

Many Maine employers can’t find workers with the high-level skills that are needed to compete in an increasingly global economy, he says, and the University of Maine System’s graduate programs are uniquely positioned to help solve that problem.

“The biggest challenge we face in this state is not taxes, it’s not energy costs, it’s that we don’t have the workforce we need to be competitive in the 21st Century,” says Cutler, who was selected to lead the UMaine system’s initiative in April 2015. “If you look at the states that are doing well, it’s all because their workforce has the skills that are needed in today’s world. That’s why we’ve put that [need] front and center of the business plan.” Continue reading

Our View: UMaine System graduate study center would help economy grow

From the Portland Press Herald, October 24, 2016.

By The Editorial Board

For a while, Maine’s “one university” concept sounded like a nicer way of saying “budget cuts.”

For two painful years, it was the rationale behind the consolidation and elimination of programs needed to close a deficit in the operating budget in a time of declining enrollments. It was especially acute at the University of Southern Maine in Portland and Gorham, where the bulk of the cuts were made.

Now we are seeing the first real sign that “one university” can mean more than just cuts. It can also mean growth in new and exciting ways.

Continue reading

UMaine System releases plans for consolidated graduate center in Portland

From the Bangor Daily News, October 21, 2016.

By Nick McCrea

BANGOR, Maine — Leaders of the University of Maine System on Thursday released details of their plan to unite graduate programs for aspiring businesspeople, lawyers and public administrators under one roof.

The Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies will bring the system’s existing graduate programs in law, business and public policy together into one entity. The system says it’s the first such center established by a higher education institution in the country.

The hope is that the center’s revamped programs will help reverse the state’s aging demographics by drawing young people to Maine and keeping them here after they earn their graduate degrees. For example, the center hopes to counter a drastic shortage of lawyers in rural Maine by getting new graduates to work in those parts of the state, according to Eliot Cutler, a two-time gubernatorial candidate who UMS hired a year and a half ago to lead the effort.

Cutler said the broad goal of the new center is to have those graduates not only work in underserved professions, but also to establish initiatives, businesses and programs to help boost the state’s economy. Continue reading

UMaine System posts first look at plan for $150 million graduate center

From the Portland Press Herald, October 20, 2016.

By Noel Gallagher

An ambitious $150 million proposal by the University of Maine System to create a new graduate center for business, law and public policy in Portland would be phased in slowly, with first-stage funding of $15 million for the first few years, according to a business plan posted online Thursday.

But a funding source for two-thirds of the capital needed has not yet been identified, according to the plan.

“It is, I think, something that can transform Maine’s economy, rebuild communities around the state and address several problems that have been plaguing Maine for years,” said Eliot Cutler, who led the effort to develop the business plan. Continue reading