For the editor:
Region 9 School of Applied Technology serves students from multiple school districts, teaching and training practical nurses, computer scientists, truck drivers, youth interested in automotive work, construction, fire science, culinary arts … . She is also reaching out to all students in the region with her Job Fair, which was held, after a rain delay, on Tuesday, May 10.
Eddy Naples, R9’s organizer of the event, emphasizing that teaching and learning R9 is just the beginning of careers and adult lives, brings together an extraordinary array of employers and universities potential for the event.
Bath Iron Works recruiters arrive early, set up a well thought out booth and stay late. Famous, they want welders, but it’s a big and complex business involving machinists and mechanics, managers and office staff, designers and engineers…. They train “in-house”. The starting salary is high. And, as Meagan Packard, who hires and trains for BIW, says, the end product is very satisfying: high-performance ships!
There are very few ready-to-hire experts. Many companies emphasize their training programs and willingness to adjust schedules and reimburse tuition to help with study abroad. Some formalize the process: BIW’s “Development Programs”, Sargent’s “Construction Academy”, etc. Lucas will turn a beginner into a certified arborist in a few years. Senior executives come to the show: they say they’ve been encouraged to learn, practice and move up the ladder.
Army, Navy, Air Force and Navy recruiters are noticeably present (in uniform). They emphasize the diversity of opportunities to learn technical and managerial skills while serving the nation and earning a living. The Maine National Guard allows people to do this on a part-time basis, serving our state as well as our country.
All branches of the military have one message in common: they are not the default setting. Once upon a time “you could always join the army”. Today, the military is looking for obvious potential.
Several fire science students from R9 join the Marines. The Corps recruiter explains that it is a way to obtain in-depth training, useful in service and after active service. Marines can transition to fire departments while serving in the reserves. The army and firefighters (also represented at the Fair) are not in competition; it is a mutually beneficial relationship.
Banks, credit unions and insurance agencies come to the fair. Some need employees; all need customers and clients. Employers don’t pay cash these days. All job seekers will need accounts and, although they may not realize it yet, insurance.
Going to the Salon is not just about recruiting. Companies see each other and talk to each other. And to the colleges that also attend. Live networking works.
Community colleges and the University of Maine, Augusta remind high school job seekers that work and school don’t have to be separate options. Part-time studies, online offers and short, intensive training courses are integrated into professional life; many employers will pay for them.
Local outfits are well represented at the Fair. Sunday River offers summer jobs for vacationing students and opportunities for advancement in many fields, from hospitality and catering to construction and the obvious winter jobs. School districts are hiring education technicians, bus drivers, catering staff…. Western Maine Transport needs both drivers and vehicle maintenance personnel.
Some jobs are little known. The Lewiston-Auburn 911 recruiter points out that people don’t think about dispatchers. When they call, they think they are talking directly to the police, the fire department or the ambulance service. (And many don’t know how to describe an emergency or its location. A small but important task for schools?) Vortex needs to explain what it does. The inspection and repair of infrastructure piping involves interesting and advanced robotic technologies.
Irving’s recruiter turns out to be from the lesser-known but important sawmills, rather than gas stations. A student knew her priorities. “What are you doing ?” “How?” “What are you paying? »
Today’s employers are buyers in a seller’s market. Even so, potential young employees need to know more. A representative of an employee-owned company, discussing profit sharing, should begin by explaining what a profit is and who typically benefits from it. Concerned about pay, students are less aware of benefits. Health care has been a parental responsibility, retirement seems unimaginably distant. Attention high schools!
David R Jones