Governor Highlights GEAR UP program, Importance of EducationAugust 30, 2006 - TRCAUBURN — Governor John E. Baldacci today met with students involved in GEAR UP, or “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs,” at Central Maine Community College in Auburn. The students met with the Governor and with heads of the program to share their summer projects.“I am so very impressed with the GEAR UP program and especially you, the students,” said Governor Baldacci. “GEAR UP has provided you with new and growing opportunities. Importantly, you’ve been focused on using technology, and increasing your aptitude in science and math.”Governor Baldacci told the students from Jay Middle School that their enthusiasm for this program should relate well to the upcoming start of the school year. He noted that his Administration has been laying a solid foundation of education and job opportunities for their future.“In Maine, we’re growing a 21st Century Economy – one where our state competes globally – for jobs and for business,” said the Governor. “Your skills will be in great demand. That’s why I’ve been working to increase access and affordability for you and other students to obtain quality post-secondary degrees right here in Maine. And that’s not enough. I’ve been working to increase infrastructure, research and development, workforce training and new technologies to build a better future for you.”The GEAR UP program is meant to help youth from non-traditional settings learn skills in technology, math and science fields. Governor Baldacci told the kids in the program that he’s working now for them to have a place in Maine when they are finished with school.“There are going to be many exciting places here in Maine for you to take your education and skills to realize your dreams,” said Governor Baldacci. “With your specialized knowledge and experience, there will be many open doors for you. Hopefully what everyone has learned from this experience is how important higher education is both to you, the student, and to the community and state as a whole.”Governor Baldacci continues to emphasize the importance of education as students prepare to go back to school. Among the Governor’s accomplishments, he has established the Community College system; set up three major initiatives to help students with the rising interest rates on Federal Student Loans; appropriated $180 million more towards schools in 2007 than was appropriated in 2005; and worked to raise teacher salaries for the first time in two decades. Read Online: http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?id=23282&topic=Portal+News&v=article-2006NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.