How Morse High School is Bringing Career Exploration, Experience, and Learning to Its Students

“My role is to provide students at Morse High School with meaningful, real-life work/career exploration experiences to better prepare them for Maine’s workforce,” said Morse High School Extended Learning Coordinator Scott Stinchcomb.

Stinchcomb is one of a growing number of Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) Coordinators working in schools and districts across Maine who all aim to set up intentional career/work experiences and coordinate efforts for students’ to experience and learn about different jobs, career paths, and work opportunities available here in Maine and beyond.

“The best part of my day is supporting students and listening to their workplace experiences and to see them growing and developing in real time,” he added.

As part of the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan (MJRP), Governor Mills recently announced $25 million toward paid work experiences for Maine students during a visit to Morse High school. “The energy and positive enthusiasm surrounding this event was amazing,” said Stinchcomb. “It also brought much attention to the value and importance of our Extended Learning Opportunities Program.”

Morse High School has only recently gotten its extended learning program up and running but they have already placed 10 students into career exploration. So far, Stinchcomb has really enjoyed working to set up placements for his students within the local business community – he says the support has exceeded his expectations. He explains that these employee related experiences allow Morse High School students the opportunity to acquire and develop crucial career ready skills to ensure their success.

“This experience is helping me by giving me a better idea of where my future career opportunities stand,” said Libbi Wallace, a senior at Morse High School and participant in the ELO Program. “I am able to test the waters and see if this is something I could do for the rest of my life,” added Wallace who hopes to one day open and operate an early childhood education program.

In addition to placing students, Morse High School is also planning bus tours for students to visit multiple businesses and they are also in the process of planning a Career Fair, Financial Fitness Fair, and Hiring Fair for the Spring. They are also planning on inviting in potential speakers and exploring many more career exploration experiences for students this year.

According to Stinchcomb however, they definitely couldn’t do it all alone. Morse High School is working with a collaborative including Mt. Ararat, Brunswick High School, the Southern Mid Coast Chamber, Mid Coast Youth Center, Retail Association of Maine, the Maine Department of Education, Maine Tourism Association, Jobs for Maine Grads (JMG), and the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.

“It has been a very effective and productive model to support these ELO Programs,” added Stinchcomb who also wants to thank Bath area business/community partners Terri Crocker of the Creative Play Childcare, Hair Creations, Riverview Physical Therapy, Mid Coast Youth Center, Darlings (Brunswick), and Bath Animal Hospital to name a few businesses. He is also grateful to a number of individuals such as Patrick Manual (RSU1), Eric Varney (Morse HS), Maria Morris (JMG), Rick Wilson (Maine DOE), Doug Ware (Mt. Ararat), Cory King (Southern Mid Coast Chamber) and the entire Regional Collaboration Group. Along with state-level leaders who have helped secure funding for the ELO Program.

“The benefits emerging is the undeniable strengthening of our future Maine workforce and ensuring the success of our students, our local businesses, and the State of Maine economy,” said Stinchcomb.

Extended Learning Opportunities (ELOs) are hands on, credit bearing courses outside of the traditional classroom with an emphasis on community-based career exploration. These opportunities are personalized for students and help them explore options for their professional lives. They help students engage in learning through instruction, assignments, and experiential learning. The Maine Department of Education (DOE) has made a concerted effort to provide working models, support, and funding opportunities for Maine schools to set up ELO programs within their school communities. To learn more about Maine’s initiatives with extended learning opportunities, visit: https://www.maine.gov/doe/index.php/learning/elo or reach out to Maine DOE ELO Coordinator Rick Wilson at rick.wilson@maine.gov.

Maine DOE Adult Education Team Awards $3.2 Million in Strengthening Maine’s Workforce Education and Training Grants

The Maine Department of Education’s Adult Education Team has funded 8 Strengthening Maine Workforce projects as part of the Maine Jobs and Recovery Program (MJRP).

The federal funding, awarded through a statewide competitive grant process for adult education providers, will enable programs statewide to:

  • Develop, implement, continue, and/or expand, workforce training programs in collaboration with employers
  • Partner with employers to address workforce shortages in employment sectors such as manufacturing, restaurants, lodging, healthcare and retail trade industries identified as suffering deep economic declines due to COVID-19
  • Develop and provide English language acquisition services
  • Improve availability, relevance, and access to English language acquisition courses, including reducing waitlists for English language acquisition services

Hub 7 Adult Education – Bridge to Employment
Waldo, Knox, Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties
Total award amount: $378,077 

Bridges to healthcare training, hospitality/retail Employment, and manufacturing training will focus on workforce training in collaboration with employers. Existing programs will be expanded, and new programs will be developed and implemented with significant input from area employers. Bridge or gap funding will be provided to eligible students who don’t already meet eligibility requirements through other sources. The bridge to employment for immigrants will focus on the goal of workforce training but will also be directed towards developing and providing English language acquisition services; and improving availability, relevance, and access to English language acquisition courses. A hub-wide training for ESOL/ML  conversation partner volunteers will be developed and provided as a means of sustainable capacity building. These services will further aid workforce training and English language acquisition students by providing financial support in areas of transportation, childcare, and training costs not covered under WIOA partner and Department of Health and Human Services financial resources. These will include gas cards, taxi vouchers, on-site childcare, childcare reimbursement, and training scholarships for students while attending adult transitions or college transitions classes, certification programs, or on-the-job training programs. In addition, earn-as-you-learn incentives will be offered to those eligible students who do not qualify for employer or grant-sponsored coverage of their time that would otherwise be spent working to support themselves and their families.

SAD 1 Adult & Community Education – Aroostook Hospitality Workforce Training Program
Aroostook County
Total award amount: $398,408

The goal of the Aroostook Hospitality Workforce Training Program is to develop sustainable and reliable career pathways within the hospitality (lodging and restaurants) industry in Aroostook County that will provide entry level employees, both current and prospective, the opportunity to receive high quality and meaningful training in order to grow and enhance the skills necessary to excel at their job. The focus will be on building skills in customer service, industry specific technology and skills, as well as leadership training opportunities.  In addition, education regarding the wide variety of careers available in the hospitality industry as well as an individualized career ladder plan will help participants meet their professional goals.

RSU 25 Adult Education – Healthcare Pathways
Hancock and Washington Counties
Total award amount: $486,080

The project supports expansion and improvement of allied healthcare training across Adult Education Hub 1 in collaboration with regional healthcare partners. This project will allow the expansion of currently established healthcare pathways to address barriers and skills gaps identified in the pilot phase as well as create new healthcare pathways to address industry needs identified during and because of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Expanded healthcare pathways will include hybrid course offerings that address healthcare skills gaps and include stronger and earlier employer connections and offer participants across the Hub an interrelated pathway to certifications, stackable credentials, and engagement with local employers.

New healthcare pathways will include Certified Clinical Medical Assistant curriculum that will include multiple entry points across the Hub.

All pathways supported with these funds will include resources both in and out of the classroom to assist students to address barriers to success in a timely manner.

South Portland – Adult Multilingual Program Expansion
Cumberland County
Total award amount: $260,450 

This program will The program will seek to build a culture of success by 1) providing scheduling and transportation that fits with the needs of parents who have children enrolled in school, 2) developing a childcare program for children too young for school, 3) translating materials and using language interpreters as needed to conduct outreach, recruitment and evaluation 4) increasing the relevance of English language acquisition courses by using a culturally aware model that builds towards readiness for workforce participation.   address the English language needs of immigrants and asylum-seekers who have little or no English language proficiency.

Westbrook Adult Education – Luke’s Lobster Workplace ESOL
Cumberland County
Total award amount: $199,319 

Adult Education will partner with Luke’s Lobster to build an employer-based and contextualized English Language Acquisition program for multilingual learners employed at the Luke’s Lobster production facility in Saco, Maine. Funding for the start-up of the program is being applied for.

Luke’s Lobster employees are in need of English Language Acquisition that fits with their constantly changing schedule and needs. The production schedule varies from day to day depending upon the amount of product coming in from the boats. This will require a flexible program with various training options from onsite training to virtual training, both including various online tools, i.e. EnGen, Zoom. With their ever-changing schedule, transportation and childcare become constant barriers for employees to attend area adult education program’s English Language Acquisition classes. In addition to the waitlists at various programs.

Portland Schools/Portland Adult Education: Extended Language Access Project
Total award amount: $489,850   

The Extended Language Access Project will enable Portland Adult Education, the largest adult education provider in Maine, to extend English language learning opportunities to a greater number of students disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through innovatively addressing the waitlist, expanding English instruction, and addressing barriers to participation.

Portland Public Schools/Portland Adult Education: English and Digital Skills Integration
Total award amount: $490,650

The English and Digital Skills Integration programming will increase relevance and accessibility of English language acquisition and workplace preparedness through 1) improving remote instruction, 2) adequate access to loaner devices and hot spots and 3) integrating a multi-pronged approach to digital skills building at all levels of the organization that includes a digital skills lab, targeted workshops and digital skills integration into traditional ESOL classes.

Portland Public Schools/Portland Adult Education: Healthcare Pathways
Total award amount: $500,000

Portland Adult Education’s Healthcare Pathways Program will create English language acquisition and workforce training opportunities in the healthcare industry for individuals disproportionately affected by COVID-19 including people of color, individuals with low-incomes, low English literacy levels, and women who may also be unemployed or underemployed, or currently out of the labor force.  Portland Adult Education will work closely with healthcare employers to design and implement programming and connect students to employment opportunities. Portland Adult Education will take a customized approach to meeting students’ education and training needs by offering a range of healthcare focused training opportunities and supports, and ensuring appropriate placement based on English level, professional backgrounds, and career aspirations.

Annual Career and Technical Education Conference Draws 400+ Educators from Across Maine

(Pictured: Commissioner Makin attended the conference to acknowledge and thank educators for their dedication to career and technical education.)

On Friday October 7th the Maine Association for Career and Technical Education (MACTE) organization held their annual Career and Technical Education (CTE) conference at Lewiston Regional Technical Center (LRTC) in Lewiston. More than 400 CTE educators from secondary and post secondary schools across Maine came together to discuss their respective programs as well as attend workshops held throughout the day. Workshops that were offered ranged from clean energy, apprenticeship opportunities, and industry partners to name a few.

The conference also carried on its annual tradition of recognizing the MACTE CTE Teacher of the Year as well as the MACTE CTE Lifetime Achievement Award honorees.

2022 Career and Technical Education Teacher of the Year:

Jean Palmer
Creative Digital Media Instructor
Region 10 Technical High School in Brunswick
Read a story about her award in the Portland Press Herald

Jean Palmer
Photo from Portland Press Herald

Lifetime Achievement Award: 

Dan Caron
Chef and Culinary Instructor
Lewiston Regional Technical Center (LRTC)
Read a story about Dan in the Lewiston Sun Journal

Dan Caron
Photo from Lewiston Sun Journal

For more information about the MACTE CTE Conference reach out to MACTE http://mainecte.org/contact/

Register Now for Maine Construction Career Days – Oct 6

Maine’s chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC Maine) and the Maine Associated General Contractors (AGC Maine) are hosting a Maine Construction Career Days event on October 6th from 7:30am – 2:00pm at Midcoast Excavation in West Bath. The event will be open to all high school students.

The event will be a hands-on experience and include exhibitors and educational resources. It will be attended by construction companies, school districts, state agencies, labor unions, trade and professional organizations. All of them are collaborating to provide students with an introduction to various aspects of construction. The event will also be the platform to award scholarships to deserving Maine students entering a construction related field.

Schools interested in sending students can click here for a school registration form.

Download a printable flyer

For more information or questions, reach out to:

Employment Specialist Certification Training

The Maine Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services are pleased to announce the new Working Together Maine Workforce System training led by the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Successful completion of this training leads to an approved Employment Specialist certification that meets the requirements of Maine state agencies to support individuals with disabilities on their paths to employment.

To learn more about this in person training and to register view the flyer.

For additional information or questions, please contact Lara Enein at lara.enein@umb.edu.