UPDATED PRIORITY NOTICE: Higher Education Workforce Grants Available for New and Expanded Programs

While the COVID-19 pandemic has had broad economic impacts, several Maine industries have suffered disproportionate negative economic consequences caused by the pandemic. As part of the Maine Jobs & Recovery Act, the Maine Department of Education is seeking applications to provide funding to higher education institutions in Maine to prepare students for employment in industries harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Funding will be used to develop a new or expanded certificate or degree program that addresses priority workforce needs in one of the following industries: tourism, travel & hospitality; healthcare and social assistance; education and public sector; agriculture, fishing & forestry; infrastructure (construction, trades, broadband, logistics); information; manufacturing; or clean energy.  

Those eligible for the grants include private colleges and universities in Maine and the Maine Maritime Academy. In their applications, higher education institutions should consider how their programs will:  

  • Address critical needs in Maine’s economy and workforce by advancing strategies identified in Maine’s 10-year economic development strategic plan; 
  • Prioritize supports for disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, and individuals such as new Mainers, people of color, low-income students, Indigenous communities, and students seeking work in rural communities; 
  • Demonstrate the likelihood of supporting the advancement of students and workers to achieve higher paying jobs in Maine; and  
  • Use funding for one-time investments that will produce lasting benefits or propose a feasible funding strategy for sustaining activities after grant funds have been exhausted. 

The number and size of awards will depend on the number of proposals received & available funds. The range of awards is up to $2 million and eligible institutions may submit applications for up to two distinct projects. 

Applications should be submitted by June 16, 2022 to the State of Maine Division of Procurement Services, via email, at Proposals@maine.gov 

For additional information, contact Ángel Martínez Loredo, Director of Higher Education & Educator Support Services, at angel.loredo@maine.gov.​ 

UPDATED PRIORITY NOTICE: Higher Education Workforce Grants Available for Work-based Learning Experiences

The Maine Department of Education is seeking applications for the distribution of higher education workforce grants as part of the Maine Jobs & Recovery Program (MJRP). The program will provide a total of $1 million to private higher education institutions in Maine to prepare students for employment in industries harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funding must be used to provide internships, registered apprenticeships, career mentoring, and other work experience support for students or graduates to connect them to careers in healthcare and social assistance; tourism, travel, and hospitality; education or the public sector; agriculture, fishing and forestry; construction; information; manufacturing; or clean energy. Those eligible for the grants include private colleges and universities in Maine, the Maine Maritime Academy, and industry partners related to the career fields listed above.

The number and size of awards will depend on the number of proposals received & available funds. The range of awards is up to $200,000 and eligible institutions may submit applications for up to two distinct projects.

Applications should be submitted by June 8, 2022 to the State of Maine Division of Procurement Services, via email, at Proposals@maine.gov.

For additional information, contact Ángel Martínez Loredo, Director of Higher Education & Educator Support Services, at angel.loredo@maine.gov.​

PRIORITY NOTICE: State Board of Education Adopts New Chapter 115 Regulations for the Credentialing of Education Personnel

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is pleased to announce that on May 11, 2022, the State Board of Education voted in favor of final adoption of Rule Chapter 115: The Credentialing of Education Personnel. These changes come after more than two years of work with numerous stakeholders to ensure unnecessary barriers were removed, and that Maine continues to have well-prepared educators to work with students in our schools. The final version includes changes required by the Maine Legislature.

Some of the highlights of the new rule include:

  • Praxis exams are no longer required.  Instead of this specific requirement, an applicant for certification may choose to pass Praxis I, utilize a summative grade point average (gpa) of 3.0 for courses required for the certification, or submit a portfolio for review.
  • References to the latest versions of professional standards for many certificates have been updated.
  • Language was enhanced to include greater flexibilities with degrees, as well as work and academic experiences.
  • Course requirements for human development as well as diversity-centered content related to today’s classroom have been added.
  • Many updates to Career and Technical Education certificates and endorsements have been made.
  • Some grade spans have been expanded to include pre-kindergarten.
  • Greater flexibilities for international teachers and alternative education teachers have been added.
  • Renewal requirements for some administrator certificates have been changed.

The new regulations will now be filed with the Maine Secretary of State and become effective 30 days after. The new rule will be posted here.

To assist in understanding the new regulations, the DOE is offering a webinar series, which will be recorded, for anyone in the field.  Please see below for dates, topics, and a link to the webinars:

May 18 – New Ch. 115 Regulations: How Did We Get Here? 

May 25 – Overview of Chapter 115 Changes 

June 8 – How to Best Support Educators Through the Certification Process 

The Certification Team is hard at work implementing the new changes and providing updated resources on the website www.maine.gov/doe/cert. The best way to reach the team is to email cert.doe@maine.gov.

Seeking Proposals for Statewide Expansion of Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) Programming

RFA# 202204057 – Statewide Expansion of Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) Programming

The State of Maine is seeking proposals from public education institutions and community-based organizations to adopt and/or expand Extended Learning Opportunities programs for youth ages 16-21 in Maine.

A copy of the RFA, as well as the Question & Answer Summary and all other related documents to this RFA, can be obtained at the following website: https://www.maine.gov/dafs/bbm/procurementservices/vendors/grants

Proposals must be submitted to the State of Maine Division of Procurement Services, via e-mail, at: Proposals@maine.gov.  Proposal submissions must be received no later than 11:59 p.m., local time, on Thursday, May 12.  Proposals will be opened the following business day. Proposals not submitted to the Division of Procurement Services’ aforementioned e-mail address by the aforementioned deadline will not be considered for contract award.

Maine DOE Seeks Public Comment on School Improvement Grant Eligibility Waiver

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is seeking public comment on a waiver request related to the federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) program. Through this eligibility waiver request, the Maine DOE intends to further support Maine schools during a period of exceptional challenges due to COVID-19.

Pursuant to Sections 8401 (b) and 8401(d)(2) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and Section 421(b) of the General Provisions Act, the Maine DOE is seeking approval from the U.S. Department of Education to:

  • Waive the eligibility requirements for SIG funds; and
  • Extend the period of availability of SIG funds until September 30, 2022.

If granted, this eligibility waiver request would give the Maine DOE authority to support a greater number of schools with their continuous school improvement efforts through the end of summer. To have the largest possible impact, the Maine DOE plans to utilize the remaining $812,951.51 in SIG funds to provide a Summer Leadership Academy designed to help educators address the academic and non-academic needs of students impacted by COVID-19.  School Administrative Units (SAUs) may, however,  seek individual school-level allocations instead. SAUs must contact the Maine DOE by March 11, 2022 if they do not agree with these remaining SIG funds being used on their behalf to implement a Summer Leadership Academy.  Preliminary school-level funding amounts have been posted to the Maine DOE website.

Please note that any eligible SAU electing to receive individual school allocation(s) must utilize funding specifically to administer independent programming at each school within the SAU.  In addition, Section 1003(a) of ESSA requires that each school that receive funds directly must:

  • Submit an online funding application to the Department, outlining how the school anticipates utilizing the allocated SIG funds to support continuous improvement efforts;
  • Obligate all allocated SIG funds on or before September 30, 2022; and
  • Liquidate (invoice) all allocated SIG funds on or before September 30, 2022.

As part of the statutory requirements for seeking this eligibility waiver, the Maine DOE must solicit and respond to public comment on its waiver request as well as provide evidence of the available comment period.  This 15-day public comment period shall begin on February 25, 2022 and conclude on March 11, 2022. A copy of the full waiver is available here.

Questions related to this announcement as well as public comments on the waiver request may be sent to Travis Doughty at travis.w.doughty@maine.gov.