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JMG to Host Statewide Extended Learning Opportunity Conference

Jobs for Maine Grads (JMG) is collaborating with GEAR UP Maine to sponsor a statewide Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) Vision Casting Conference focused on expanding access to—and increasing capacity for—Extended Learning Opportunities for Maine high school students. All Maine educators interested in learning more about expanding ELO opportunities in their districts are encouraged to apply to attend this overnight conference free of charge.

Extended Learning Opportunities (ELOs) are hands-on, credit-bearing courses outside of the traditional classroom with an emphasis on community-based career exploration. They are highly personalized experiences that provide an opportunity for students to connect real-world experiences with traditional academic instruction. Frequently, these experiences include job shadows, internships, and community interviews in combination with reflection and traditional academic components aligned with Maine Learning Standards.

“It is no secret that Maine is facing a workforce shortage. And after the last 18 months, educators are more aware than ever of the need to increase student engagement in schools,” says Rick Wilson, Career Education Specialist with the Maine Department of Education, “ELOs are a perfect intersection of meeting those needs because they expose students to careers available right here in Maine in highly interactive and engaging ways.”

This overnight conference is the first of its kind in Maine. As districts are seeing positive results from this experiential approach, interest in ensuring all Maine students have access to ELOs is growing and more programs are being developed across the state. With this in mind, JMG intends for this conference to be just one of many opportunities for professional development related to ELO programming.

The focus of this conference will be the development of a shared vision for creating equitable access to ELO programming for all Maine high school students. “Maine has a number of schools doing fantastic work around ELOs,” says Samantha Brink, Director of Statewide ELO Programming at JMG, “But this programming is largely confined to districts in Southern Maine with funding to hire full-time coordinators, and even these positions have limited scalability. This conference is a chance to really dig in, identify barriers, and brainstorm solutions to increase the capacity for all schools in Maine—no matter their geography—to offer these valuable experiences to students.”

The Statewide ELO Vision Casting Conference will be held December 1st to December 2nd at the Samoset Resort in Rockland, Maine and is open to educators across the state interested in learning more about how to bring this programming to their schools.

The conference is free to all attendees, but space is limited. Masking will be required in all indoor public spaces and space will be provided for social distancing. Maine educators selected to attend the conference will be notified by November 1, 2021. Join us as we cast our ELO vision and build Maine’s model!

For more information, please visit JMG.org.

Application to attend the conference is here.

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