REGION — Adult learners in greater Franklin County will soon be able to access a variety of adult education computer courses in their own towns.

Greater Franklin Economic and Community Development in collaboration with adult education centers at Spruce Mountain [RSU 73] and Franklin County [RSU 9, MSAD 58, and RSU 78], secured generous funding for a three-year pilot program to provide free and accessible computer courses for beginners through business owners, budding entrepreneurs, and anyone wanting to learn more about various computer programs.

The grant is for up to $225,000 over a three year period, Spruce Mountain Adult and Community Education Director Robyn Raymond said Tuesday, Oct. 18.

“Our plan is to hire somebody who will travel to all towns and townships within the greater Franklin County region,” she noted. Classes would cover computer basics such as how to turn on the computer, navigate the internet and prevent scam attacks to the opposite end of the spectrum, she said. “If you wanted to start a business having broadband services brought to Franklin County,” she noted. “Would they need Quick Books resources, how do you file an [Limited Liability Corporation], anything related to digital [computer] literacy would be covered.

Grant funding will support a full time position with benefits, she said. “Unfortunately we have had no traction with that yet,” she noted. “The goal is to get somebody as soon as possible, hopefully by November.”

The new position will be housed at Franklin County Adult Education in Farmington, will travel to RSU 73 [Spruce Mountain], MSAD 58 [Mt. Abram] and Rangeley, Raymond said.


The instructor chosen will travel to the far reaches of the northern Franklin County border to Livermore, Livermore Falls, and Fayette, according to an Oct. 17 release. The instructor will deliver high-quality, custom classes to ensure the region is digitally prepared for the expansion of broadband connectivity, the release noted.

There is an option for learners to come to one of the adult education centers in Livermore Falls or Farmington, Raymond said. “We have people on site who can teach digital literacy,” she noted. “Folks can earn badges like Micro[soft] and credentials to show their proficiency, which are recognized on resumes for businesses. It’s a free opportunity for anyone in the community.”

“We are very excited,” Franklin County Adult and Community Education Director Nancy Allen said Thursday. “It is a great opportunity. We’re looking to help the people of Franklin County even more.”

Loaner computers are available and those below the income threshold are eligible for a free tablet and subsidized internet, which Raymond believes will be $30 per month.

Charles [Charlie] Woodworth, executive director of Greater Franklin Economic and Community Development secured the funding, Raymond said. Funding came from the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, The Betterment Fund and Maine Community Foundation, she noted.

“We’re excited and energized by our Franklin County partners’ focus on building digital skills in the region, and working to ensure that everyone can benefit from the investment in broadband infrastructure across the county,” Strategic Partnership Director for Maine Connectivity Authority Maggie Drummond-Bahl said. “This county-wide commitment by economic development and adult education partners is a great step toward closing the digital divide and using technology to unlock the benefits of telehealth and workforce training.”


The classes are for anyone wanting to learn more about computers, not just those applying for jobs or currently in the workforce, the release stated. With all three tiers of learning offered for varying comfortability with technology, the goal for greater Franklin County residents is to imagine being able to join the exciting computer world by sending emails and pictures, Skype with loved ones with confidence, or learn more about PowerPoint, QuickBooks, or Google Analytics, it continued. These courses will teach learners how to communicate easily with their community, healthcare providers, the business community, and the world at large, the release added.

“Since 2018 partners throughout our region have been working on designing, funding, and implementing reliable high-speed internet to all addresses in Franklin county,” Woodworth said in an email Oct. 22. “We now need to teach our neighbors how to utilize the internet safely and efficiently while keeping it affordable. This initiative is referred to as “Digital Equity.” Our leading partners at Spruce Mountain and Franklin County Adult Education have designed programming with measurable outcomes intended to reach all corners of our county.”

Contact the local adult education center today to sign up for this free course: Spruce Mountain [207] 897-6406 or Franklin County [207] 778-3460.

“These classes will help citizens, remote workers, businesses, job seekers, students, and patients to benefit from this generation’s technology,” Woodworth wrote. “We are looking to hire part-time instructors who are dynamic, engaging, and enjoy witnessing student growth.”

Email Spruce Mountain – – or Franklin County Adult Education Center – – if interested in becoming the county-wide computer connections teacher.

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