Breaking News
More () »

Maine high schoolers are getting real-word experience through Extended Learning Opportunities Program

There are approximately 50 ELO programs around the state helping Maine high school students get "credit-bearing" work experiences outside of the classroom.

BELFAST, Maine — A core education is considered necessary for any high school student to get out into the real world; however, it's just as important for students to get their hands dirty outside the classroom.

Maine's Department of Education has a program called the Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) Program, which gives high schoolers community-based, career exploration opportunities.

"The idea is getting kids thinking about what they want to do beyond high school and getting them doing it now," Belfast Area High School's ELO Program coordinator Solomon Heifets said.

Heifets helps arrange opportunities for his students to get experience with a job that's of interest to them, like interning at veterinary clinics and the Waldo County District Attorney's office. 

For instance, Kayden Richards, a senior at Belfast Area High School, has been working for the Belfast Water District for five months.

He works alongside the water district's superintendent, Frank Short, which gives Richards the chance to learn and see what working in the real world is like.

"I wanted something a little more eye-opening to the future just so I could get some real-world experience under my belt," Kayden Richards, senior at Belfast Area High School, said.

Rather than a traditional internship or job within the community, ELO programs can also offer independent studies to help students reach their individual interests.

Brynne Sawyer, a senior at Belfast Area High School, created an independent study surrounding sports management and data analysis.

"It's super cool to make that passion like something that I get academic credit for," Sawyer.

There are approximately 50 ELO programs around the state helping Maine high school students get this "credit-bearing" work experience outside of the classroom.

More NEWS CENTER Maine stories

For the latest breaking news, weather, and traffic alerts, download the NEWS CENTER Maine mobile app.

Before You Leave, Check This Out