Maine Quality Centers broadens its business training mission

August 05, 2013

Scott Colton realized the recent arrival of compressed natural gas in northern Maine presented plenty of opportunities for his employer, K-Pel Industries, a Fort Fairfield-based welding, fabrication and machine shop. But none of the 20 workers in the 14-year-old company had the proper training and certification needed to work on CNG systems.

“I found different organizations down state that would come up and teach us what we needed to know to pass the test for licensing, but it was expensive — about $6,000 per employee — and it would have taken three weeks of 40-hour-a-week sessions,” he says. “We needed multiple people licensed, but couldn’t afford to take those employees out of the work force for three weeks, never mind the training costs.”

Colton, who is the quality control and project manager for K-Pel, found a better solution by connecting with Northern Maine Community College and its Maine Quality Center, a statewide business-assistance program that delivers free training to Maine businesses that pledge to create new jobs with decent wages…