Maine Beer Gift Creates “Brewing Up Opportunity” Program at the University of Southern Maine

The University of Southern Maine (USM) Foundation has received a $100,000 gift from Maine Beer Company to create a unique Brewing Up Opportunity Internship & Scholarship Fund. The gift establishes a pilot program for USM students that includes a paid internship with Maine Beer Company and a scholarship award of up to $5,000 per academic year upon completion of the internship. The program’s goal is to promote diversity and inclusion within the craft beverage industry by providing access to education, on-the-job training, and mentoring to help develop a new generation of beer industry professionals.

“The craft beer industry has done a lot in terms of creating jobs and being a driving force in our economy. We have a lot of work to do to make this industry a better reflection of our actual community,” said Maine Beer Company co-founder and USM alum Daniel Kleban. “Our hope is that this collaboration with USM creates an access point into craft beer and expands the understanding of what a career in this industry can be, while at the same time cultivating the industry’s next generation and changing the narrative of who makes up that community.”

This pilot program will give students the opportunity to be fully immersed in the brewing industry in Maine, while helping support their financial needs.

The Brewing Up Opportunity pilot program will launch this spring, with the first USM student beginning their Maine Beer Company internship this summer.

Jeanne Paquette, Vice President of Corporate and Workforce Engagement at USM, said, “We are thrilled to partner with Maine Beer Company on this important initiative. This direct investment to our students not only offers a powerful opportunity to fulfill USM’s promise of enhancing education through real-world experiences, it also supports the development of talent for a critical industry in Maine.”

The Brewing Up Opportunity fund will be used to support USM students who wish to pursue careers within and connected to the craft beverage industry, with internship-scholarships awarded to individuals from traditionally underrepresented populations, first-generation college students, or students coming to Maine from an international location.

Paquette said, “This collaboration showcases the growing capacity of USM’s Career & Employment Hub, led by Director Andy Osheroff, to deliver on critical programs for employer partners and students alike. Through the Brewing Up Opportunity program, more of our students will have the ability to consider these powerful learning opportunities. As the most diverse institution of higher learning in the state, this is of critical importance.”     

The program looks to broaden the definition of beer studies and training to be inclusive of all the fields represented within the brewing industry. Maine Beer Company and USM hope to open up opportunities to those who might not have considered a career in beer thus expanding the number of experiences and voices represented. Internship-scholarships will be awarded to students enrolled in or connected to relevant USM programs including, but not limited to, Tourism & Hospitality, Food Studies, Marketing, Engineering, Finance, Design, and those working with the Quality Control Collaboratory (QC2).

For program information about the Brewing Up Opportunity Internship & Scholarship, please contact Andy Osheroff, Director, USM Career & Employment Hub at andrew.osheroff@maine.edu or 207-780-4695.

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