University of Maine System leaders help launch Maine Defense Industry Alliance

SANFORD, Maine — University of Maine System (UMS) Chancellor Dannel Malloy and Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation and University of Maine (UMaine) President Joan Ferrini-Mundy joined industry, education and government leaders today for the launch of the Maine Defense Industry Alliance (MDIA) (External Site).

UMS is a founding partner of the new coalition formed to coordinate the statewide workforce development efforts necessary for the success and continued growth of Maine’s defense industry.

Through UMaine and the University of Southern Maine, the System grants nearly all of the degrees awarded in the state for engineering, which undergirds the sector. Additionally, in Fiscal Year 2003, more than one-quarter of all federal grants and contracts awarded to UMaine — which is the state’s only institution to have achieved the prestigious Carnegie R1 classification for very high research activity — came from the U.S. Department of Defense, representing $37 million of investment in Maine. 

“Maine’s defense manufacturers have a well-deserved international reputation for excellence and are a powerful economic engine for the state, directly supporting more than 20,000 good-paying Maine jobs. Yet their growth beyond that has been limited by the size and skill of the state’s workforce,” said Chancellor Malloy. “Maine’s public universities are partnering with employers to address this, including by expanding our engineering and computing programs, and hands-on student research learning experiences that prepare our graduates to solve complex challenges. Through this new alliance, we can build on these efforts and together ensure that this industry has the talent and the technologies needed to strengthen Maine’s economy and our national security.”

Last year with the support of the Maine Congressional Delegation, U.S. Rep. Jared Golden secured $7 million in Congressionally Directed Spending for UMS to lead the creation of two Industry 4.0 Manufacturing Training Innovation Centers that will provide talent pipelines for defense, aerospace and other manufacturing employers in the state, including Bath Iron Works and Compotech, a Brewer-based UMaine spin-off company that now employs more than 50 Mainers. 

The initiative is being led by UMaine’s Advanced Manufacturing Center and its Director John Belding and will establish a Manufacturing Training Innovation Center in Orono and also in southern Maine through a partnership with the Maine Community College System, also a founding member of MDIA.

“With UMaine’s signature education and research strengths such as utilizing enhanced automation, additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence and strong short-term technical training programs with our community college partners, there is a tremendous opportunity for our state to be a national leader in developing the next generation defense industry workforce,” said Vice Chancellor and President Ferrini-Mundy. “Through this new alliance, we can accelerate the talent development and innovation necessary to improve agility, productivity and resiliency in our defense industry and across manufacturing so companies here can better compete with Maine people and our economy as the beneficiaries.” 

For more information about the Maine Defense Industry Alliance, please visit (External Site)

Contact: Samantha Warren, University of Maine System Director of External Affairs, 207-632-0389,

About the University of Maine System

Established in 1968, the University of Maine System (UMS) unites seven Maine’s distinctive public universities, comprising 10 campuses and numerous centers, in the common purpose of providing quality higher education while delivering on its traditional tripartite mission of teaching, research, and public service.

In 2020 UMS became the first and only statewide enterprise of public higher education in the country to transition to a unified accreditation for the system. Much different than a merger or consolidation, unified accreditation is a new operating model for the University of Maine System that removes the primary barrier to inter-institutional collaboration.

A comprehensive public institution of higher education, UMS serves more than 30,000 students annually and is supported by the efforts of more than 2,000 full-time and part-time faculty, more than 3,000 regular full-time and part-time staff, and a complement of part-time temporary (adjunct) faculty.

Reaching more than 500,000 people annually through educational and cultural offerings, the University of Maine System also benefits from more than two-thirds of its alumni population residing within the state; more than 123,000 individuals.

The System consists of seven main campuses: The University of Maine (UMaine), including its regional campus the University of Maine at Machias (UMaine Machias); the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA); the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF); the University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK), the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI); and the University of Southern Maine (USM). The System also includes a UMA campus in Bangor, USM campuses in Gorham and Lewiston-Auburn, the University of Maine School of Law, and the University of Maine Graduate and Professional Center.