Cassidy McLeod of Stearns High School watches as Audrey Dunstan gets her blood pressure taken during Doc4aDay at Millinocket Regional Hospital in this April 4, 2016, file photo. Credit: Nick Sambides Jr.

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The state is suspending restrictions for some online job training programs in an effort to quickly train out-of-work Mainers for health care positions.

On Friday, Gov. Janet Mills signed an executive order suspending certain restrictions of the Maine Quality Centers program, which is offered by the state’s community college system.

The system’s president, David Daigler, said the move is intended to help provide short-term, free online training to recently laid-off residents, while also providing the health care industry with needed workers as it experiences a surge in demand due to the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

“So that people have the beds they need when they need them. And that they have trained practitioners by their side when they need trained practitioners by their side,” he said. “It just creates a straighter line for us to be able to get people into free training programs. So they can turn around, and we can help support the growing workforce need that exists, especially in health care, because of this.”

[Our COVID-19 tracker contains the most recent information on Maine cases by county]

Daigler said the system has already identified several training programs that will be held online, including those for medical assistants, phlebotomists and technicians that could help manufacture supplies such as swabs and disinfectants.

The Legislature provided $2.5 million to the Maine Community College System as part of the supplemental budget bill passed last month.

The system is hoping to launch the first of the trainings by mid-April, with programs typically lasting eight to 12 weeks.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.