In this April 3, 2020, file photo, David Armistead, associate head of school at John Bapst and AP psychology teacher, works from an office at his Bangor home.  Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

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 Mainers 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, said many positions are expected to stay remote, at least part of the time, following the pandemic. He said that could benefit rural Maine residents, who may be challenged in finding a job nearby because of a lack of transportation or child care.

“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 said.

Belyea said 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.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.