Today, over 100 community members and State representatives gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony of the Biddeford Regional Center of Technology (BRCOT) expansion. This $7 million project, funded by the Maine Department of Education, will increase Career and Technical Education (CTE) programming beginning with building a wing onto Biddeford High School behind the Center of Technology. The expansion will allow students increased choice in career pathways, such as the newly-created Culinary, Hospitality, and Athletic Training programs, along with adding more space to accommodate an increased enrollment of the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Plumbing and Heating programs.
"CTE programs equip students with the skills and hands-on experiences they need to secure good paying jobs and to have rewarding lifelong careers in the trades,” said Maine State Governor Janet Mills. “For decades, Maine has not done nearly enough to invest in modernizing or expanding this effective model of education. Two years ago, the Legislature approved my Maine Jobs in Recovery Plan, which invested $20 million in Maine CTEs, including equipment. Biddeford’s CTE will create a culinary arts and hospitality program and the State’s very first Athletic Training Program. Since I have taken office, CTE enrollment state-wide has grown by nearly 11%, with an almost 300% increase in exploratory programs. Today, 27 CTE programs in regional centers enroll nearly 10,000 students in 85 different programs. Many of these students will achieve industry accreditation, earn college credit, and graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to continue in the job market or in higher education. That’s good for Maine students; it’s good for our economy."
The expansion will also have the capacity for future middle school programming to explore students’ interests and provide space for workforce training and skill enrichment classes through Biddeford Adult Education. All programs in the new addition will offer certifications such as ServSafe, OSHA 10, NCCER Plumbing Certifications, EMT Basic Licensure, CPR & First Aid, Athletic Training, dual enrollment opportunities, and post-graduate Apprenticeship opportunities.
“Today is a remarkable day in our history as we begin a transformative journey that will empower our students, provide more opportunities, and shape the future of our community,” said Paulette Bonneau, Director of the Biddeford Regional Center of Technology. “This groundbreaking ceremony signifies more than just the construction of a building; it symbolizes our unwavering commitment to fostering innovation, creativity, and practical skills. This new wing represents a bold step forward in fulfilling our responsibility to equip students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in an ever-evolving world, a hub where students can explore a wide range of career pathways to discover their passion and prepare them for success in the workforce. The impact of this endeavor will shape the lives of generations to come and contribute to the growth and prosperity of our community.”
Construction of the expansion is expected to be completed by July 2024.
PHOTO CAPTION: (l-r) The Honorable Ryan Fecteau, Former Speaker of the House and Current Senior Advisor for Community Development and Strategic Initiatives in the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future; Dwight Littlefield, Maine State Director for Career and Technical Education; The Honorable Janet Mills, Governor of Maine; Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Ray, Biddeford School Department; and Paulette Bonneau, Director of the Biddeford Regional Center of Technology and Member of the Maine State Board of Education.