The overarching goal of the Young Professionals Institute is to further connect and strengthen one of Aroostook County's greatest assets--its younger professional community.
The Institute was created following talks University of Maine at Presque Isle officials held in 2007 with many different local businesses. Officials received an overwhelming number of requests for more training opportunities, especially for the younger professionals in offices across the region.
Momentum Aroostook, a local group whose mission is to provide opportunities for Aroostook County residents through professional and social events that highlight the advantages of working and living in northern Maine, was working toward many of the same professional goals for its members. With them, the University found the perfect co-partner to establish the Young Professionals Institute.
At around the same time, MMG Insurance saw the benefits of having a course like this available to its younger employees and whole-heartedly embraced the concept, lending the expertise of Matt McHatten, one of its senior officials, to help with the planning and execution of the classes.
This team brought the region its very first Young Professionals Institute in the spring of 2008, with 14 area professionals learning about problem solving, teamwork, public speaking, writing skills, goal setting, and networking during a fast-paced, five-week course. Class activities and assignments were based around the fictitious business Aroostook Executive Adventures, a private business providing outdoor and team building experiences catered to organized professional groups.
Since then, the Institute has taken on a new theme each year. While the size of the class remains constant, the short course has grown to eight weeks to accommodate the number and wide range of topics and learning activities that get covered during YPI. In the Spring of 2012, organizers marked the Institute's fifth anniversary.