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UMPI, Momentum Aroostook, MMG Insurance join forces to offer fourth Young Professionals Institute

Momentum Aroostook, MMG Insurance and the University of Maine at Presque Isle are teaming up for the fourth time to provide the area’s young professionals with a one-of-a-kind leadership development opportunity.

The three entities will host the Young Professionals Institute, a professional development short course designed specifically for emerging leaders looking to hone their professional skills. The program will be offered at the University during eight afternoon sessions between March, April and May. Most classes will be held in the Campus Center’s Alumni Room.

Officials are pleased to be partnering again on this project and hope to build on the successes they realized during the last three years.

“Momentum Aroostook is very pleased to be partnering with the University of Maine at Presque Isle and MMG Insurance on this project,” Scott Violette, steering committee chair, said. Momentum Aroostook is a diverse network of friends, business associates, and individuals who are active in the community. Its mission is to provide opportunities for Aroostook County residents through professional and social events to highlight the advantages of working and living in northern Maine. “Together, we are helping to provide the area’s young people with a professional development opportunity that allows them to practice the skills they need to be successful in the workplace, whether they are in government or education fields, with non-profits, are self-employed, or are in traditional office settings.”

Activities and exercises in this year’s institute will focus on the theme of improving the regional economy through innovations in education. Participants will learn innovation engineering techniques that help them to think about education in new ways, take part in role-playing scenarios that refine their abilities to “pitch” proposals and deliver presentations, conduct mock press conferences that give them experience in working with the media, and network with local officials and statewide leaders. A special new component of the institute is a Statewide Networking Road Trip organized by Momentum Aroostook that will bring together YPI participants, graduates and other young business people from around the state to talk about education and other issues important to Maine’s future.

Along the way, participants also will be developing action steps for innovations in the Aroostook County education system to help create a stronger regional workforce. As the culmination of the course, participants will present their action steps to the media and area leaders.

“The University is excited about our partnership with Momentum Aroostook and MMG Insurance and is very pleased with the fact that we’re able to provide the area’s young professionals with this unique professional development experience and the opportunity to do work that can help to improve the region,” President Don Zillman said. “As happened during the last three years, some of the outstanding professional leaders in our community will be joining us to teach rising young professional stars about key aspects of professional success. Our goal is to further connect and strengthen one of the County’s greatest assets – its young professional community.”

The Young Professionals Institute was created following talks University 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. With Momentum Aroostook working toward many of the same professional goals for its members, the University found the perfect co-partner to establish the Young Professionals Institute. 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, its Senior Vice President, to help with the planning and execution of the classes.

“We are pleased to see the continued investment by the University of Maine at Presque Isle and Momentum Aroostook in this important program,” McHatten said. “YPI’s design is well suited for the emerging professional with a great mix of leadership, teamwork, and communication skill building. The combination of group study and interactive learning opportunities through guest lecturers sharing real life experiences makes for a very effective program. We’re happy to support the effort again this year and look forward to another dynamic session.”

The Institute will be facilitated by University officials, members of Momentum Aroostook, several local business and community leaders, and the graduates of past Young Professionals Institutes. Previous sponsors of YPI participants include Acadia Health Education Coalition, ACE Rent-A-Car, The Aroostook Medical Center, Cary Medical Center, The County Federal Credit Union, DFAS-Limestone, F.A. Peabody Co., Farm Credit of Maine, Katahdin Trust Company, K-Pel Industrial Services, Inc., Loring Job Corps Center, MMG Insurance, University of Maine at Presque Isle, Maine Centers for Women, Work and Community, Ryan’s Heart, and Northern Prosthetics.

“We all see this as a way to build skills, and encourage this younger generation of professionals to stay in the area and get involved in work that helps to positively impact the region,” Clare Exner, University Business Professor and one of the course designers, said.

There are only 12 seats available for YPI4. Young professionals interested in taking the course must submit their name for nomination or have their business employer nominate them. The nomination deadline is March 17. Selections will be announced March 18. A $100 registration fee, paid by course participants or their business sponsors, is due by March 23.

This year’s YPI sessions will be held on March 23 and 30, April 6, 12 and 27, and May 4, 11 and 18. Most sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m.; however, the fourth session will take place on Tuesday, April 12, and the final session on May 18 will conclude at 7:30 p.m.

For more information about the short course, which is not being offered for academic credit, contact the College of Professional Programs at 768-9740 or e-mail linda.mclaughlin1@maine.edu.