BIDDEFORD — The Biddeford Regional Center of Technology is poised to receive state funding to expand career and technical education.
BRCOT officials recently learned their application to the Maine Department of Education for $7 million in funding to expand programming has been approved.
That means the array of offerings will soon include a new Culinary Arts and Hospitality program, an athletic training program, and expansion of the existing emergency medical services and plumbing and heating programs.
The conditional award was made from the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan CTE infrastructure program, said Maine DOE Communications Director Marcus Mrowka.
The new construction will address much-needed improvements and allow students increased choices in career pathways, school officials said.
It will also allow for future middle school programming to explore students’ interests and provide space for workforce training and skill enrichment classes through Biddeford Adult Education.
Biddeford School Department Communications Director Shelly Kane said the expansion of BRCOT will take place at the existing campus on Maplewood Drive.
Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Ray said the timeline is a bit up in the air, but officials would like to start construction this coming spring. “We believe it will be a 12-month build,” he said.
Grant awards were to focus on career development and training to meet the state’s workforce needs for economic recovery, workforce development, and supporting good-paying job opportunities for students throughout Maine, Mrowka said.
Under the governor’s ‘s bill that provides allocations from the state’s fiscal recovery funds, projects must align secondary CTE programs to occupations that lead to employment which provide an entry annual wage meeting the state average; in professions that demonstrate substantive growth; and engage secondary CTE programs with business and industry partners to provide career pathway connections between students and the workforce, among other provisions.
BRCOT was among 17 applicants statewide. It tied with Lincoln-Northern Penobscot Technical Region for the highest application score of 91. In all, four districts were awarded conditional funding. According to the award letter from DOE CTE Program Manager Steven Airoldi, funding is contingent on final approval by the State Procurement Review Committee and a successful contract negotiation.
The Biddeford Regional Center of Technology was formed in 1969 and offers many career and technical courses, from business education to engineering and architectural design to legal studies, and a lot more. It provides education to students from Biddeford, Saco, Kennebunk, and Old Orchard Beach.
More information is expected next week. Biddeford School Department has scheduled a news conference for Monday, Nov. 14.