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New Program Will Launch Next Year To Train Rural Mainers For Remote Jobs

People work in a call center of Covidom, a new remote medical monitoring app, inside the Paris public hospitals' Campus Picpus last month.
People work in a call center of Covidom, a new remote medical monitoring app, inside the Paris public hospitals' Campus Picpus last month.

As the pandemic has forced millions of people to work from home over the past year, the Maine Community College System is launching a program to specifically train rural Maine workers for remote jobs.

The system will train about 700 rural Maine residents beginning next year for remote work jobs, such as those in medical transcription and IT support. Dan Belyea, the system's chief workforce development officer, says many positions are expected to stay remote, at least part of the time, following the pandemic. He says that could benefit rural Maine residents, who may be challenged in finding a job nearby because of a lack of transportation or childcare.

"They're also not going to be challenged with going to a larger, urban area, where there are significant housing issues. And there are significant transportation issues," Belyea says.

Belyea says the program will provide laptops and internet hotspots to students at no cost, and he hopes recent investments in broadband will help more rural residents access remote jobs.

The program is set to begin next January.