Gov. Janet Mills signed an executive order Monday suspending certain restrictions for a job training program managed by the state community college system.

The order is expected to help ease access to free online training in areas currently seeing high demand, such as medical assistants and pharmaceutical technicians, as well as provide employment opportunities for people whose jobs have been eliminated or put on hold because of the coronavirus, the governor’s office said in a news release.

The Maine Quality Centers offers workforce training grants to employers interested in providing training to new or current employees through the Maine Community College System. Monday’s order allows the system to waive certain requirements, such as the need for program partners to provide financial contributions if funds are not available.

“Maine’s Community Colleges have always played a critical role in providing training and skills to strengthen our workforce. With the State battling COVID-19, that work is more important than ever,” Mills said in the release. “This Executive Order provides our Community College System with the flexibility it needs to enhance their workforce development efforts and help fill vital jobs, such as those in the health care field, as quickly as possible.”

Maine Community College System President David Daigler pointed to widespread job losses from coronavirus. “But overnight there is a huge demand for workers in certain jobs, such as medical assisting and pharmaceutical technicians,” he said in the statement. “We need to give people the training and skills they need to step into those jobs as quickly as possible.”

Maine Quality Centers is working with all seven of the state’s community colleges to develop and implement free online training programs. Efforts are also being coordinated with the Maine Department of Labor and other workforce agencies for the recruitment and screening of participants.

 


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