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UMPI, Northern Lighthouse sign area’s first Campus to Career agreement

In an effort to better meet the region’s workforce development needs, officials with the University of Maine at Presque Isle and The Northern Lighthouse Inc. will sign the area’s first local agreement meant to strengthen the collaborative efforts of both organizations in preparing students—or potential future employees—for careers in the workforce.

“We are so pleased to be signing this Campus to Career memorandum of understanding with The Northern Lighthouse Inc.,” UMPI President Ray Rice said. “This agreement not only allows our students to get vital career readiness training and hands-on work experience, but also has the added benefit of connecting our students with area employers and introducing them to great careers available right here. We commend The Northern Lighthouse Inc. for being the first to sign on to this effort and for serving as the catalyst for us to make this a bigger initiative on our campus.”

“We are very grateful for the opportunity to be entering into this agreement with UMPI,” Tiffany Faulkner, Northern Lighthouse CEO, said. “Through this collaboration, we are looking to give many students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in their field of study through internship placements, with the hope of offering future employment. It is through this agreement that we hope to show graduates that they can achieve their career goals while remaining in Aroostook County, and help to curb out-migration.”

As part of the agreement, UMPI will provide a comprehensive career readiness program that utilizes both classroom and real world experiences in preparing students to be active members of the workforce. UMPI will also market employment opportunities and collaborate with The Northern Lighthouse Inc. to ensure that graduates demonstrate the skills and abilities necessary to be successful in the workplace.

In return, The Northern Lighthouse Inc. will work with faculty and staff to provide internships and other short experiential career experiences for students, serve as mentors or sponsors to students, assist with career readiness activities on and off campus, and provide job postings, promotional materials and marketing materials when needed. The University is actively working with other regional employers to put other Campus to Career agreements in place.

According to Nicole Fournier, UMPI Director of Career Readiness, the Campus to Career Program will help students to realize the many career opportunities that are available, increase their awareness of job openings in the region, and identify skills for development: “It adds more depth to what we’re doing already with career readiness while strengthening a close working relationship with our area employers,” she said.

Austin Daniels is one UMPI student taking advantage of that more in-depth career readiness experience. Daniels is participating in an internship at Northern Lighthouse, and just three weeks into the work experience, the agency is already talking about a permanent position for him.

“Having an internship has really allowed me to connect with people, and see opportunities that I otherwise would not have had,” Daniels said. “I have been able to learn some on-the-job experience that will definitely better prepare me for the workforce.”

Officials expect that outcomes like this will be a regular feature of the Campus to Career Program.

“As a graduate of the University of Maine at Presque Isle, I feel as though it’s important to connect college students with jobs right here in Aroostook County,” Cody Tompkins, Northern Lighthouse Human Resource Manager, said. “I believe this partnership will be beneficial for both our agency as well as students furthering their education at UMPI. It’s a step in the right direction for growth in the job market here in Aroostook County, and making sure we have the best qualified staff to meet the needs of those we serve.”

For more information about the Campus to Career Program, please contact Nicole Fournier at (207) 768-9589 or nicole.l.fournier@maine.edu.