Develop Your Facilitation Skills


Belfast, Maine — Registration is open for two facilitation trainings through the University of Maine Hutchinson Center’s professional development program. Building Your Virtual Facilitations Skills, an online program, will be held on Jan. 18, 25, Feb. 1, 8 and 15 from 1–3 p.m. ET. The cost is $225 per person. Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills, an in-person program, will be held May 5, 19 and June 2 from 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. ET and costs $425. More information is available on the Hutchinson Center website.

Building Your Virtual Facilitation Skills is designed for people who want to work effectively with virtual groups and generate results through virtual interactions. For many workers, virtual is the new normal. The global COVID-19 pandemic has shifted and impacted our daily routines in innumerable ways, including the transition of many in-person meetings to virtual platforms. Many professionals may have moved their work online without any training in virtual facilitation skills. This program will benefit people who would like to improve their skills in: engaging virtual group members, managing a group’s virtual process and challenges, handling multiple aspects of virtual technology, and adapting facilitation techniques and tools for virtual environments. 

One Continuing Education Unit (CEU)/10 contact hours are available through this training. This new training series adapts Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills for virtual facilitation and was developed through a collaboration between University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant, New Hampshire Extension, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and University of Vermont Extension. More information about this virtual program is online.

Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills focuses on in-person facilitation strategies. This training will help people who need to help a new group get started, guide a group to solve a problem, or help a group deal with conflict. “Skills for working in groups don’t usually come naturally and are not routinely taught,” says program facilitator Kristen Grant. “If you have ever worked with a group and wished you had more practice or skill, this program is for you.” 

Participants in this training will build competence in essential facilitation skills and knowledge, actively engage and collaborate with other participants, apply a variety of processes for guiding groups to useful outcomes, and practice facilitating and receiving feedback in a supportive environment. Snacks and lunch are included. Two Continuing Education Units (CEUs)/20 contact hours are available through this training. More information about this in-person program is online.

Both of these facilitation programs are designed to benefit analysts, community-based groups, consultants, educators/teachers, executives, managers, municipal officials, nonprofit organizations, trainers, sales professionals and others whose professional and/or community work involves working with groups to achieve results.

Facilitator Kristen Grant is senior Extension program manager, coastal community resilience and DEI leader. Her work focuses on the interactions between the people and ecosystems of the coast, and includes a range of activities to build the capacity of coastal communities to plan and adapt for their future, such as building community engagement and facilitation skills, considering housing options, addressing coastal access and waterfront development issues, and understanding erosion trends and planning for coastal hazards. Grant has a master’s degree focused on environmental education, an extensive background in outreach education and community development, and nearly a decade of experience in training facilitators.

Early registration is recommended as spots are limited. A limited number of need-based scholarships are available for people who live or work in Knox or Waldo counties. Qualified participants may be eligible for funding from the Harold Alfond Center for Workforce Development. Click here to learn more.

For information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Abby Spooner, um.fhc.pd@maine.edu; 207.338.8002. For more information about upcoming professional development programs or to register, go online.

About the Hutchinson Center:

The Hutchinson Center is an outreach center for the University of Maine in Orono, that serves as an educational and cultural center for the midcoast area. It is named for University of Maine President Emeritus Frederick E. Hutchinson. The mission of the Hutchinson Center is to broaden access to University of Maine academic and non-degree programs and services, lifelong learning opportunities, and professional and career development experiences using innovative approaches that increase synergy among University of Maine System entities, University of Maine departments and divisions, and that engage a wider Maine community. 

About the University of Maine:

The University of Maine, founded in Orono in 1865, is the state’s land grant, sea grant and space grant university, with a regional campus at the University of Maine at Machias. UMaine is located on Marsh Island in the homeland of the Penobscot Nation. UMaine Machias is located in the homeland of the Passamaquoddy Nation. As Maine’s flagship public university, UMaine has a statewide mission of teaching, research and economic development, and community service. UMaine is the state’s only public research university and among the most comprehensive higher education institutions in the Northeast. It attracts students from all 50 states and 81 countries. UMaine currently enrolls 11,989 undergraduate and graduate students, and UMaine Machias enrolls 747 undergraduates. Our students have opportunities to participate in groundbreaking research with world-class scholars. UMaine offers more than 100 degree programs through which students can earn master’s, doctoral or professional science master’s degrees, as well as graduate certificates. UMaine Machias offers 18 degree programs. The university promotes environmental stewardship, with substantial efforts campuswide to conserve energy, recycle and adhere to green building standards in new construction. For more information about UMaine and UMaine Machias, visit umaine.edu and machias.edu.