FILE - University of Maine campus

The University of Maine, along with Husson University, Thomas College and the University of Southern Maine, will be hosting a pilot program to encourage college graduates to remain in the state.

A new pilot program is under way that seeks to encourage recent college graduates to stay in the state.

The program is a joint effort by Live + Work in Maine and Educate Maine – industry-funded workforce groups that want to decrease the number of college students who find jobs in other states after earning their degrees.

Nate Wildes, a 2012 graduate of the University of Maine, worked first in Cincinnati, then returned and became Live + Work in Maine’s executive director. He told the Press Herald the pilot program will launch at the University of Maine, Husson University in Bangor, Thomas College in Waterville and the University of Southern Maine in Portland.

Starting in October, paid interns will be hired to work at the schools and distribute information about career opportunities in Maine, particularly with small- to mid-sized businesses.

“One of the things we can do is bring that point of access to these smaller employers, midsize employers, who may not have the time or capacity to engage one-on-one with the career office at a university,” Wildes told the Press Herald. “We can help connect (students) with opportunities that exist already, so it’s easier for the employer, and it’s easier for the kids to find out (about) these opportunities.”

Using a creative approach that will include handing out stickers, fliers and T-Shirts, the effort is geared to raise awareness on campus.

Additionally, a University of Maine graduate, Spenser Wood, who runs Tip Whip, a startup ride-share service at the University of Maine and Husson, will provide information about the program in its weekly electronic newsletter to Tip Whip users – an estimated 8,000 of them just at the University of Maine.

The Maine State Chamber of Commerce has said workforce shortages are a major issue for most businesses in the state.