press release - DOL Ag grant

Public Relations & Marketing


Release date 03-25-13


KVCC receives $2.5 million federal grant to support agricultural programs at Harold Alfond Campus


HINCKLEY - Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) will receive a $2.5 million federal grant to create an agriculture-oriented education hub at its new Harold Alfond Campus.


The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration has notified KVCC of its final approval of the award. The College will now proceed with the steps necessary to launch the first planned programs – two-year associate in applied science degrees in Sustainable Agriculture and in Culinary Arts – in August of this year.


“We are excited that KVCC is receiving this grant at such a critical time in our development of the Harold Alfond Campus in Hinckley,” KVCC President Barbara Woodlee said. “With this support we are now able to proceed with these two important programs this fall and to develop additional programs for the fall of 2014.”


Members of Maine’s Congressional delegation offered their congratulations on the award.


“I am proud of the accomplishments of Kennebec Valley Community College,” said U.S. Senator Susan Collins. “KVCC is committed to the highest standards of education, and to improving the economy in Maine through education that meets the needs of our state’s students and employers. This funding will prove instrumental as KVCC continues to expand and offer innovative programs that will help enhance the local economy and enable graduates to secure good-paying jobs.”


“KVCC has a proud tradition of supporting educational offerings that not only enrich the lives of their students, but also put them on a career path that benefits them as well as businesses in Maine,” U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud said. “This new U.S. Department of Labor investment will allow KVCC to build on this successful foundation and their recent expansion.”


At least four distinct programs offering a dozen career paths are planned. The collection of programs, dubbed the “KVCC Agriculture Cluster,” will be based at the Alfond Campus farm.


The Sustainable Agriculture program will provide students with the technical and small business skills needed to manage or develop a small farm or agricultural business. Curriculum will include: soil, plant and animal science, crop production, integrated pest management, farm infrastructure, and sustainable livestock management.


That program's development got a boost in January thanks to a $100,000 grant from Jane’s Trust to hire a farm manager and purchase equipment.


The Culinary Arts program will provide a strong foundation in culinary arts using an innovative farm to table focus. Curriculum will include basic and advanced food preparation techniques, nutrition, menu planning, kitchen sanitation and safety, food purchase and storage, and meal serving.


One-year certificate options for these programs are also planned. Plans call for students to begin enrolling in both programs this spring with classes to begin in August.


Other programs being developed for the Agriculture Cluster to begin in the fall of 2014 include:


• Food Technology - introducing students to the principles of food science including the selection, preservation, processing, packaging, distribution and use of safe, nutritious and wholesome foods.


• Quality Control Technician - providing a foundation of scientific principles, problem solving, and technical skills. Curriculum would include record-keeping, guidelines and regulations, quality control, and technical writing and reporting as well as a selection of science electives to meet the needs of various regional employers.


Career opportunities for students emerging from the Agriculture Cluster and its programs would include jobs in occupations including farm manager/ supervisor, agriculture technician, nursery/greenhouse grower, agribusiness owner, quality control technician, chef/cook, food service manager, baker/baker’s assistant, food preparation worker, food science technician, agricultural technician, agricultural inspector, and seed production and sales.


“The college examined the challenges associated with establishing a secure and sustainable food system in our region and identified these academic programs to support the effort,” Kathy Englehart, Math and Sciences Department Chair for KVCC, said.


More information on the KVCC Agriculture Cluster will be posted online at as it becomes available.


Kennebec Valley Community College is one of seven community colleges in Maine. KVCC prepares full-time and part-time students to enter the job market, to transfer to colleges and universities, and to achieve their professional and personal goals.  Programs and services support the economic growth of the community in response to changing needs.


In 2011 and again in 2012, KVCC was named one of the top community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute, placing in the top 10 percent of two-year colleges based on student success rates.


In 2012 the College undertook the largest expansion in its 43-year history, acquiring the former central campus of the Good Will-Hinckley School in Hinckley, including approximately 600 acres of land and more than a dozen buildings. Renamed KVCC’s Harold Alfond Campus, this property located seven miles north of the current Fairfield campus of KVCC is being refitted and augmented to serve an additional 1,500 to 2,000 students and house many additional programs.


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