UMaine to host largest ever education career fair as schools face surging teacher shortages

Note: Due to the inclement weather predicted for Thursday through Friday morning, the professional development for students before the career fair has been cancelled. The career fair is still scheduled to happen on Friday, April 5 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

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The University of Maine College of Education and Human Development, the largest teacher preparation program in the state, is holding its annual education career fair, where the college’s soon-to-graduate education majors can meet representatives from dozens of school districts and other employers in Maine. The event will be held Friday, April 5 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Wells Conference Center on the UMaine campus. 

Nearly 50 employers have registered for the fair, including school districts from across the state, as well as organizations such as early childcare centers, public charter schools, the Maine Department of Education and more. The number of participating employers is the largest in the six-year history of the event.

Behind the demand is a significant shortage of qualified teachers in Maine, as well as the need for education technicians, substitute teachers and other professionals serving students from preschool through grade 12. Graduates of UMaine’s state and nationally accredited teacher preparation programs are automatically recommended for teaching certification in Maine in critical areas, such as early childhood, elementary grades, and high school-level mathematics and language arts. 

“UMaine has really prepared me for going into the classroom next year as a teacher,” says Haley Cherry of Whiting, Maine, a senior who will graduate in May with a degree in elementary education. “It’s given me a great deal of experience working with kids and I’ve been able to see the difference that teachers make in a child’s life and the way they see the world.”

Maine is not the only state facing teacher shortages. However, research shows that most education majors end up teaching close to where they go to school. That makes UMaine and the state’s other public university campuses key to addressing the shortages in the Pine Tree State. The University of Maine System (UMS) is the state’s largest producer of classroom-ready teachers, having awarded nearly 4,000 education degrees or certificates in the past five years.

“Our graduates are highly qualified and committed educators, ready to contribute to thriving communities across the state,” says Ezekiel Kimball, associate dean for undergraduate and teacher education in the UMaine College of Education and Human Development. “Our college is particularly invested in developing an education workforce in Maine that is responsive to rural schools facing the biggest obstacles in terms of attracting and retaining teachers.”

The annual career fair is co-sponsored by the college and the Penobscot River Educational Partnership (PREP), an organization of more than 20 Eastern Maine school districts focused on improving K-12 student learning through professional development for educators. The College of Education and Human Development is one of its higher education partners. PREP will be holding its April monthly meeting at Wells Conference Center before the career fair.

Also before the fair, the College of Education and Human Development will be holding a series of professional development workshops for students, including a question and answer session with Milken Educator Award recipients from Maine. The awards, created by the Milken Family Foundation, are presented to early-to-mid career teachers in recognition of their important work, as well as the promise of what they will accomplish in the future. The Milken panel will feature recent honorees who are still teaching, Hillary Hoyt from Winterport’s Leroy H. Smith School and Sarah Collins from Hermon’s Patricia A. Duran School, along with Mary Giard and Dick Durost, Milken recipients in the 1990s, who are now retired from teaching. All four are graduates of the University of Maine or other UMS schools.

In addition to UMaine’s preservice teachers, education students from the University of Maine at Augusta’s Bangor campus, Husson University, Eastern Maine Community College and other local teacher preparation programs have been invited to attend the day’s events. 

Contact: Casey Kelly,