College and Career Success Coordinator Alice Shea Recognized for Her Work and Advocacy on Behalf of Asylum Seekers in Maine

Alice Shea

(Pictured [left] Addie Laroche who nominated Alice for the award and [right] Alice Shea, Maine College and Career Success Coordinator)

Alice Shea, College and Career Success Coordinator for Adult Education Hub 8 and Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) was recognized with a 2023 Alumni Award from Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development. Alice received the 2023 Lucy Wheelock Award in recognition of her work and advocacy on behalf of asylum seekers in Maine. Alice’s work to promote access to education and high-quality employment will have an impact on the New Mainer population her students, their families, and Maine’s workforce for generations to come.

College and Career Success Coordinators are part of the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan (MJRP) which has committed $6 million dollars to address the workforce development needs of those disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Maine’s Department of Education, Adult Education team is using these funds to help eligible adults and employment sectors recover from the stresses of the pandemic through a variety of academic and job training supports.

Addie Laroche, the Director of Maine Partnerships, nominated Alice Shea. Addie previously held the position of the Director of Career and Transfer Services at SMCC. Laroche introduced Shea at the award ceremony and spoke about why they had chosen Alice as the recipient of this year’s award.  She shared the following:

“The Lucy Wheelock Award recognizes someone who has shown incredible dedication to their community, advocating for social justice and systemic change. When Alice Shea began her work at Maine’s largest community college, she quickly understood that there was a community that was facing significant challenges in terms of access to educational resources, housing, food security, and many other necessities that so many people take for granted. The state’s New Mainer population, those who have been forced out of their home countries and are seeking asylum in Maine, quickly identified Alice as a key resource on campus.

She has been instrumental in developing remedial preparation classes for students entering high-demand fields, securing access to English Language Acquisition support, education, technology, and extending the resources in our campus’s food bank. Not only has she served this community with a passion, but she’s ignited that passion within her colleagues. Alice had shared with the college’s executive team that she had helped secure housing for a student, but the student didn’t have a single piece of furniture. That Friday afternoon, the college’s highest level of staff banded together to tap into their networks, ensuring that the student had furniture to call their own that weekend. The President of the College showed up with a truck on Saturday morning to deliver it himself.

The work that Alice does with the New Mainer and greater SMCC and Portland community, as well as the drive that she shares with the rest of the community, cannot go unnoticed. Creating systemic change for new Mainers is not only instrumental in helping to improve the opportunity and security for themselves and their families, but is a key factor to sustaining the workforce in fields like healthcare and technology across the entire state. Behind all of that is Alice’s support, advisement, and passionate advocacy.”

In Shea’s acceptance speech, she thanked the Mills administration for Maine’s free college initiative and Maine Jobs Recovery Plan for funding positions and projects that support marginalized people in Maine’s communities.

Since the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan took effect in October 2021, the Mills Administration has delivered direct economic relief to nearly 1,000 Maine small businesses, supported more than 100 infrastructure projects around the state to create jobs and revitalize communities, and invested in workforce programs estimated to offer apprenticeship, career and education advancement, and job training opportunities to 22,000 Maine people.

For more about Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, visit

To read the bios of Maine’s College and Career Success Coordinators, and learn more about the programs, click here. 

For more information about the awards and past recipients, click here.