The state Department of Education says it’s working to expand access to career and technical education to middle-school students across Maine.

A new state law allows but does not require schools to offer such opportunities for sixth through eighth graders this school year.

Maine’s education department wants to ask lawmakers for funding to expand the program in the 2018-2019 school year.

Department of Education Chief Academic Officer Rachelle Tome this year said that 11 other states have expanded their career and technical education programs to include middle-schoolers.

Tome said such programs expose students to skills and behaviors they need to compete in technologically advanced workplaces.

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