AUGUSTA — Hitting a major milestone in just over seven months, Maine Quality Centers announced today that more than 10,000 people in Maine have completed COVID-19 safety training from Maine’s community colleges.

Last year, Maine’s hospitality and tourism industry was preparing for a summer season in the midst of a pandemic, and wanted a way to assure customers that businesses were doing everything possible to be COVID safe.

Working with HospitalityMaine and Eastern Maine Community College, Maine Quality Centers (MQC) developed and launched the first COVID safety training program in June, for restaurant workers. Responding to demand, MQC — the short-term training arm of the system — developed additional industry-specific COVID-19 readiness training programs.

So far, more than 2,000 food service workers have successfully completed the training, earning a COVID-19 readiness badge; as have more than 700 lodging workers, and almost 400 ski resort workers. A new childcare worker badge is about to be launched, and plans are in the works for other industries. More than 6,000 MCCS employees and students have also earned COVID-19 readiness badges.

Training in stress management and de-escalation is also available through MQC. The free online training gives employees the tools to create a safe environment for themselves, their colleagues, and their customers.

“When you know the workers are trained — and the businesses care enough to make sure their employees have the latest information — customers can shop or ski or eat in those places with confidence,” said MCCS Chief Workforce Development Officer Dan Belyea. “We may all be familiar with the basics of masking and distancing and hand washing, but these workers need additional training to suit their workplace.”

For more information about the COVID-19 badging programs, contact Belyea at dbelyea@mccs.me.edu.