Orono, Maine – University of Maine System has been awarded a $350K grant from Lumina Foundation to build clearer pathways to degrees and other credentials for adults, especially for people of color. Lumina’s All Learning Counts initiative will support the University of Maine System and its statewide partners to ensure that knowledge, skills, and abilities gained outside of formal higher education—through work, military, and other experiences—can be recognized and applied toward programs leading to credentials of value.
The University of Maine System received one of nine grants awarded nationwide from a pool of 78 applicants. Other recipients include: District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund, Mi Casa Resource Center, Minnesota State, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, Nicolet College, SUNY Empire State College, the University of Wisconsin System, and the Virginia Community College System.
All Learning Counts – Maine is a coalition of public and private organizations committed to developing a micro-credential ecosystem to support adult learners in gaining high quality credentials to meet the needs of today’s employers. All Learning Counts – Maine is a partnership of eleven of the state’s leading education and workforce development organizations including, the University of Maine System’s campuses at the University of Maine, its partner The Wabanaki Center, and the University of Maine at Augusta; the Maine Community College System’s campus at Eastern Maine Community College; the Maine Department of Corrections along with its vendor Edovo; the Maine Department of Labor and the State Workforce Board; Maine Department of Education Adult Education programs and local programs such as United Technologies Center; Educate Maine; and the Maine State Library. Each of these agencies has adopted this focus into their core mission and goals either by policy or by programming.
The University of Maine System was awarded the grant to increase the educational attainment of Maine’s workforce to fill the jobs that will grow the economy and provide a high quality of life for Maine’s people. Maine has a highly experienced workforce that is sometimes held back from growth opportunities due to a lack of formal credentials. A critical component of improving educational attainment of the workforce is the recognition, validation, and application of non-institutional learning toward earning credentials of value.
“Through All Learning Counts, we are recognizing exemplars who want to ensure many more Americans will have skills they need to thrive by earning college degrees, certificates, and industry certifications,” said Haley Glover, the Lumina strategy director who will oversee the grant program. “We need to think in new ways about the recognition of learning after high school. We must see that all college-level learning, regardless of how and where it is gained, can be applied toward meaningful post-high school credentials.”
“To achieve Maine’s commitment to meeting the MaineSpark goal of 60% of adults attaining a credential of value by 2025, we must expand access to a range of credentials, from micro-credentials through traditional degrees,” said Rosa Redonnett, UMS Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Success and Credential Attainment. “This generous grant from the Lumina Foundation enables the UMS and its statewide partners to develop an aligned ecosystem across the state and engage with employers in the critical determination of their needs. Together we will work with a broad group of constituents representing key populations in Maine to enhance existing pathways and create new opportunities for credential attainment in Maine.”
About the University of Maine System
University of Maine System has a long history of serving adults, on its seven campuses, at multiple off-campus learning locations, and via multiple modalities (in-person, online, and mixed methods). Approximately 35% of UMS students are over the age of 25.
In December, the Board of Trustees adopted a strategic priority to support adult students by providing more flexible and accessible programming, developing wrap around services to help adults address personal and academic challenges, promoting opportunities to earn stackable credentials, and increasing financial support.
About Lumina Foundation
Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. The foundation envisions a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. Lumina’s goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.