Free training for school support staff

BANGOR — In an effort to support pre-K-12 teachers across the state, Eastern Maine Community College and the Maine Department of Education teamed up to launch a new, free education training program that will allow trainees to work as supervised support staff in pre-K-12 classrooms this year.

The pandemic has intensified a staffing shortage in pre-K-12 classrooms across the state as districts stretch their resources to offer a range of in-person and remote options to Maine families. With smaller in-person student groups and additional responsibilities, teachers need help. This program is designed to train participants to be “learning facilitators” who can assist teachers to help their students learn and grow.

“This innovative program comes at a critical time,” EMCC President Lisa Larson said. “This fills a big gap in the classrooms and is just what teachers and school districts across the state need right now.”

The Eastern Maine Community College program is a mix of supervised in-classroom training and 45 hours of remote online instruction. All trainees will have mentors at EMCC and at their host school district.

After an initial week-long bootcamp, the trainees will be eligible to become paid school staff. They will be trained to take on the duties of educational technicians or be hired as substitute teachers.

While working in the classroom, the trainees will earn badges over time in categories such as positive guidance, co-teaching and inclusive practices. At the end of the academic year, successful trainees will have completed 315 supervised hours in the classroom, earned a series of individual specialty badges and be awarded a Learning Facilitator micro-credential.

“We are thrilled with the innovative and responsive programming being offered by our colleagues at EMCC,” said Commissioner of Education Pender Makin. “The Learning Facilitator program will not only help our schools in providing for safe in-person instruction but will help provide high quality workforce training with upward potential for Maine workers.”

There is no cost to trainees for the program, which has seats for up to 180 people. The first boot camp for the program begins Sept. 14.

Partnering school districts who host trainees will receive a stipend and technology to support the program.

People interested in the training need to be 18 years old and undergo fingerprinting and a background check. New Mainers are encouraged to apply. To learn more, or to apply, go to

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