Most of the news surrounding the nation’s economy has been shrouded in gloom and doom tones as companies announce massive layoffs and the stock market keeps dropping. Businesses are having trouble staying open and it looks like unemployment is at an all time high everywhere. Still the news out of Maine isn’t all bad. In fact there is one place that seems to be thriving in spite of all of the economic woe.
Northern Maine Community College report that the student population has only increased as the economy has gone down the tubes. Officials told the Bangor Daily News that the student population this year is thirteen percent higher than the size of the student population last year. Spring Semester admissions rose more than fourteen percent than the admissions last year.
This is exciting news to Tim Crowley and the other administrators over Northern Maine Community College. Crowley told the Bangor Daily News that a lot of the new students are adults who have lost their jobs in manufacturing and mills who want to learn new skills and trades. These misplaced workers are not getting discouraged. They are using their newly found “free time” to start over-something that national news does not report often.
Another factor in the rise in admissions is the new Wind Power Technology program being offered at Northern Maine Community College. This is the first wind power tech program in all of New England and its focus is to train people to be technicians for wind power machines. So far the Maine school has received more than thirty admission applications for the program and at least forty two students have signed up for the introductory class.
More and more individuals are asking the Northern Maine Community College to extend its non-credit programs as well.
Maine residents are letting themselves get bogged down in difficulty. Instead of complaining and simply cashing an unemployment check once a week, these adults are using their time and money to educate themselves and make themselves more marketable to a twenty first century market. It is inspiring to see so many people who thought they were simply “one trick ponies” turn over new leaves and go in new directions. The students themselves are proud and are excited to be in school and learning new things.
This is the kind of story that the rest of the nation needs to see: people taking a hard situation and turning it around and making something positive happen. Stories of woe and anguish pervade the news. The rest of the country could stand to take a lesson from Maine and instead of whining and complaining about losing a job, standing up and saying “okay, what’s next?” and learning something new.
The residents of Maine are hardy folks-they have to be to deal with the cold winters-and they are proving themselves to be optimistic and innovative as well. If only everyone could be as inspiring as the residents of Maine!