New Free Education Training Program Supports PreK-12 Teachers

September 4, 2020

AUGUSTA, ME — In an effort to support PreK-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 PreK-12 classrooms this year.

The pandemic has intensified a staffing shortage in PK-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 PreK-12 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, and 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.”

The trainees can assist, for example, when: 

  • A teacher is using technology to “Zoom” into a physical classroom, but needs a learning facilitator trainee to be in the classroom with the students.
  • An on-site elementary school instructor is teaching in an outdoor classroom, but a student needs to go inside.
  • Working with individual students or small groups of children who need extra instruction or support.

 There is no cost to trainees for the program, which has seats for up to 180 people. The first bootcamp for the program begins September 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 apply, please go to http://bit.ly/learningfacilitators.