On the Web:


LEWISTON — It’s new and it’s cool, said Jan Phillips, associate dean at the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College.

If you’re a high school student, a high school parent, an adult thinking about college or an employer who encourages workers to go back to school, it’s for you.

“This is no typical Web site,” Phillips said of www.collegeformeandroscoggin.org, launched earlier this month.

Two leaders in College for ME-Androscoggin, a program intent on boosting the number of county residents with college degrees, are asking the public to check it out.

It’s a one-stop site on everything college-related around the world, said Joan Macri of College for ME.

The site features walking, talking guides who point viewers to sections. For example, the home page guide introduces the three main sections: teens, adults and employers.

One link takes you to a virtual aspirations lab. Another, to the “teens” page, where a young man in a sweatshirt and jeans asks, “Need help figuring out what to do after high school?” He directs viewers to links with information to help students learn more about getting money for college, where to go, what to study.

The “college search” link offers information on colleges in Maine and throughout the nation, and even offers online tours.

The “adults” page features a middle-age woman talking about how adults can get support to go back to school, including college searches, financial aid and career choices.

On the “employers” page, a manager type urges large and small business owners to support employee education. He directs viewers to links on the page to help employers learn how.

The four live spokespersons are actors picked to represent Androscoggin County residents. “Their purpose is to make people feel like someone just like them is able to do this,” and to make the site user-friendly, Macri said.

Those people grab your attention, said Candace Sanborn of Encompass Marketing and Design, the Auburn firm that designed the site. So-called “live Web spokespersons” are becoming common outside Maine, but are not used much in the state — even less so with nonprofits, she said. “People don’t think of doing it,” Sanborn said. It’s not expensive, she said.

The Web page also features a “Degree Monument” that lists local people with degrees, where they went to college, what they do. “There’s nothing like this in the world,” Phillips said. A test group of names is on there now. More names are being added.

Some of the individuals will have an “I” or a “JS” beside their names, indicating that they’re willing to be interviewed or job shadowed. “If I’m 15 and I’d like to be a veterinarian like Dr. Clark at Lisbon Road, I’d go and look where he did his undergrad, and see where he went to vet school,” Macri said.

The site also has an employer honor roll that recognizes employers for what they’re doing to help workers increase their educations, Mari said.

Information about the site is be shared with area high schools. On Thursday, Macri and Phillips showed school superintendents the Web site, Macri said. “They were pretty excited.”

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