To combat Maine’s need of more than 3,000 new engineers in its workforce, the University of Maine System(UMS) is launching the Maine Engineering Pathways Program (MEP2). Its aim is to prepare students for a workforce that has not only grown by a quarter over the last 10 years, but also offers more than 1,400 job openings to engineers looking to work in the state of Maine.

Earlier this week, Dean of Engineering Dana Humphrey told Fox Bangor, “I think this will be a great new pathway, and I think we’re going to capture students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to study engineering by allowing them to start at one of the smaller campuses.”

Starting in the the fall of 2018, the program will allow high school seniors the option to attend a Maine public university that is potentially closer to their home than the flagship University of Maine campus in Orono or the University of Southern Maine campuses in Gorham and Portland.

The program offers courses for first-year students at both the Bangor and Augusta campuses of UMaine Augusta and UMaine Farmington, UMaine Machias and UMaine Presque Isle. Courses will also be offered at University College locations in Bath and Brunswick, East Millinocket, Ellsworth, Houlton, Norway and South Paris, Rockland, Rumford and Saco.

According to the MEP2 website, students pursuing engineering and engineering technology degrees typically enroll in Introduction to Engineering, Chemistry, College Composition, humanities electives and Computer Programming. Engineering students take additional courses in Calculus I & II and Physics for Engineers and Scientists I & II, while engineering technology students take required courses in Pre-Calculus & Calculus I and Trigonometry-based Physics.

According to The County, a Maine news source, USM and UMaine are working with businesses in the state of Maine to prepare students for jobs in the industry in order to “align curriculum [with] employer needs.” Engineers can expect to make an average annual starting salary of more than $60,000 upon graduating with an undergraduate degree in the field. In a state like Maine, engineers are an integral part of the state’s infrastructure plan. The shortage of engineers in the industry is, as The County states, “driven by growing industry demand and an anticipated wave of retirements among existing engineers.” Those interested can learn more by visiting the Maine Engineering Pathways Program website or contacting the admissions offices of of any of the universities in the UMS.