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April 10, 2024

Nonprofit gets $525K to boost Maine's educator workforce

Educate Maine, a Portland-based nonprofit, has been awarded $525,000 in federal funding for a program that aims to improve teacher recruitment and retention across the state.

Funding for the planned Teach Maine Center, to be developed with support from the Maine Department of Education, comes from congressionally directed spending included in a recent appropriations package.

The Teach Maine Center will work to better connect Maine educators in all 16 counties. It will also implement the Teach Maine Plan, which is designed as a hub to support current educators as well as inspire and expand the future workforce. The center will include at least one focus group in each county so that Educate Maine can hear directly from teachers.

The initiative comes as the state faces a critical educator shortage and high turnover due to many schools lacking the resources to attract and retain quality teachers. Rural communities are especially affected by this disparity, according to Educate Maine.

Jason Judd headshot
File photo
Jason Judd

“The center will connect Maine’s educators, incubating their ideas and elevating their profession,” said Jason Judd, executive director of Educate Maine. “It ultimately will further our vision that all people will reach their greatest educational potential, and thus power a vibrant, globally competitive economy in Maine.”

Judd told Mainebiz that while there are no immediate plans for a bricks-and-mortar Teach Maine Center to house the program, that may change.

"Over time and with additional funding support, we will develop a physical center where educators from across Maine can come together for high quality professional development," he said.

The funding is part of the $454 million — for 185 projects nationwide — secured by members of Maine’s congressional delegation for state projects in the last appropriations package.

“Our Maine teachers lay the foundation for all our children’s success and are invaluable members of the community,” said U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine. “As the son of two public school teachers, I am grateful for all the contributions of educators all across our state. This funding will help Educate Maine better connect and empower our education workforce — providing for our teachers today and preparing the teachers of tomorrow.”

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