Riders on a New York City subway are being beckoned to “come teach in Maine,” where the “commute hits different.”

The ads posted inside certain subway cars are part of a $1 million national campaign the Maine Department of Education and the nonprofit Live and Work in Maine launched last week to attract teachers to the state amid ongoing staffing shortages.

The initiative, funded with pandemic relief money, also quantifies for the first time the number of educator vacancies in Maine: over 850.

The “Live and Teach in Maine” campaign bought ads for billboards and public transportation vehicles across New England and the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as commercials that have aired on Hulu, YouTube and other media networks.

The state Department of Education previously did not track the total number of teaching openings across the state; that information had to be collected by asking each district. Now, a new online job board created as part of the initiative shows about 880 vacancies in positions that include classroom teachers, ed techs, superintendents and custodians. 

This effort is connected to the DOE’s Teach Maine plan to recruit, retain and support Maine educators. As part of this specific effort, all schools in Maine also have free access to Live and Work in Maine’s job board so there is one spot for all education jobs in the state,” said Marcus Mrowka, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Education.


Before, school staff members would turn to websites like Serving Schools or Indeed, but most job sites charge a fee to post positions. 

The teacher shortage in Maine is not new, but was intensified during the coronavirus pandemic and encompasses nearly all school-based positions like bus drivers, ed techs and classroom teachers.

Districts across the state have attempted to come up with their own plans for how to combat the shortages, such as by offering daycare programs for teachers in central Maine and raising the substitute teacher daily pay rate.

The Live and Teach in Maine program does not offer specific incentives for people who fill jobs in Maine, but the website lists reasons to live and work in Maine and stories of people who took the leap to move here.

Teachers in Maine make a minimum of $40,000 a year, and efforts are underway in the state Legislature to raise the minimum teacher wage to $50,000.

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