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About Project Launch

  • Project Launch (PL) is an original model to help local students and their families make a successful transition from high school to post-secondary learning. We work closely with with college and workforce-bound students who voluntarily enroll in our program.

  • Before PL, more than 45% of local high school graduates that entered a post-secondary degree program had dropped out by the end of their first semester. After the first semester, dropout rates rose even higher.

  • Over 65% of students enrolled in our program are the first in their family to attend college.

  • PL is free and open to all current DISHS students and recent graduates.

Why is it Important?

  • PL provides critical support to local students! Whether a student is workforce or college bound or a combination of the two, the transition to "life after high school" can be filled with challenges.

  • Those challenges include how to finance it, understanding academic requirements, establishing a support system, making social connections, and adjusting to life in a new location.

  • Approximately 75% of students enrolled in our program have already successfully completed a college degree or are still enrolled. Before PL, only 45% of local students who entered a college program graduated with a degree.

  • The transition to the workforce can also be stressful! Common challenges include finding a meaningful position, identifying what skills are needed for a particular career field and how to access that. PL teaches participants how to be successful in interviews, craft an effective resume, become familiar with employer expectations, and get along with others in the workplace.


“Project Launch is dedicated to making the program the most successful it can be. Each year they evaluate their work and make adjustments. It's clearly working - kids are staying in college and earning degrees. College graduation and retention rates are major concerns in a state like Maine that is desperate for young, qualified workers. Project Launch is a local solution that is working. It's a model program and other schools and institutions that also want to take on this challenge are paying attention to what's been developed here.”
- Andrea Perry, Program Officer, Broad Reach Fund


How Does PL Work?

  • ​PL works in partnership with the DISHS guidance office. 

  • While still in high school, PL works with students to identify their interests, provide apprenticeship and internship experiences with area businesses, build skills development and much more. 

  • Our College Bound Program (CBP) works with students and their families on college readiness and transition, including the application and financial aid process, academic requirements, special needs and making the adjustment to the responsibilities and demands of college.

  • After graduation, PL stays connected to students and provides additional support including mentors, etc. 

  • Our Workforce Bound Program (WBP) is targeted towards those students who choose to enter the workforce. PL will link students with opportunities in their chosen career field, including career exploration and skill building courses while still in high school.

"We believe in the value of your program.
What your doing is a great benefit to our island community, now and in the future. The program
is successful and effective. It changes young
people's lives in a very positive way."

- Loring & Claudette Kydd, Project Launch Supporters

Our Funders and Partners

Maine Community Foundation Broad Reach Fund, Maine Community Foundation Barry Lyons Trust, Maine Community Foundation Community Building Grant, Educate Maine, MELMAC Educational Foundation, Deer Isle & Stonington Town Warrant, Annual Appeal, Island Wellness Foundation, Island Education Foundation, Henry Niles Foundation, Healthy Acadia Partnerships for Success, Helene Quinn Memorial Fund, Dewey-Wood Scholarship Fund, Maine Department of Education, Island Marine Lodge, William Flagg Fund, and the Mauro Fund

Our collaborative efforts with other organizations have
greatly impacted our success. Our partners include:


Central School District #13
Healthy Acadia
Island Institute
Jobs for Maine Graduates
Maine Department of Education
MELMAC Foundation

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