This fall, the University of Maine at Farmington plans to offer a new online Employment Specialist Certificate for individuals who work closely with people with disabilities and other limiting conditions, to help them secure meaningful jobs.

An employment specialist works with clients in a variety of settings to help them obtain and maintain employment consistent with their career goals. For example, one day they may be meeting with potential employers to develop job opportunities for their clients, and the next day they may be working to help an individual client learn how to do a retail job, according to a UMF press release.

This two-course online UMF certificate prepares students for nationally accredited certification through the Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators.

A grant is now offering a limited number of students a tuition waiver for one of the two required Employment Specialist Certificate courses. This collaborative grant is funded through Gov. Janet Mills’ Maine Jobs & Recovery Act through the University of Maine at Augusta Mental Health & Human Services Program and the University of Maine at Farmington Rehabilitation and Human Services Program.

“The State of Maine has a shortage of Employment Specialists and is in a constant state of recruiting for these positions,” said Karen Barrett, UMF professor of Rehabilitation and Human Services.

“This new credential can help prepare individuals working in the Human Services sector with a new level of knowledge and skill to help provide integrated employment services to a variety of populations. According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual pay for this position in Maine is more than $50,000 annually,” said Barrett.

For more information, email Nicole Achey, UMF assistant professor of Rehabilitation and Human Services, at, or visit

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