On Wednesday, Feb. 7, the University of Maine hosted its annual Career Fair, offering an opportunity for students of all backgrounds and disciplines the opportunity to connect with employers from the New England region.
The Career Fair offers opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to talk to potential employers, network with others in their field of study and have conversations about necessary skills for their future jobs.
This year, the Career Fair hosted many Maine-based businesses with the hopes of attracting college students and graduates to work at local businesses. Many of the vendors acknowledged that a lot of the businesses in Maine are losing employees because of Maine’s aging population, and they are working hard to create new programs and incentives to entice students to work in the state of Maine.
Many of the locally-based vendors have close relationships with the institutions under the University of Maine System, such as Community Care, a non-profit which serves homeless and at-risk families in the Bangor area.
Dawn Freeman, a recruiter from Community Care, noted that the close relationship between UMaine and the organization has really helped the organization find student interns. Currently, Community Care has four student interns who come from the social work program at UMaine. Freeman also noted that Community Care oversees the Shaw House, the Bangor-area homeless youth shelter, and noted how the interns have helped the homeless youth at Shaw House.
“It has been really positive for the youth to see students that are close to their own age seeing successes,” Freeman said. “It is so helpful for them to have peers that are willing to act as role models and support systems.”
She also noted that through the relationship between Community Care and UMaine, she has been able to hear more feedback from students and graduates who would potentially seek to work at Community Care.
“Through the feedback, we are able to constantly improve and see more interest in supporting what we do,” Freeman said.
Michael Johnson, a representative of Fedcap Maine, said that the Career Fair is an encouraging opportunity for communication between potential employees and employers. Fedcap Maine is a branch of the Manhattan-based Fedcap Rehabilitation Services, which works to ensure that people that come from disadvantaged backgrounds have the resources to get off of federal assistance programs as soon as possible. Johnson is an alum of UMaine, and has had four children attend UMaine and go on to get master’s degrees. He noted that it has been great to have such a close relationship with the university because he has been able to engage with students year after year at the Career Fair.
“It is great to see the students now … they are more engaged, they know what they want and they are more [prepared] and more ready to get the jobs they want,” Johnson said. “[Sometimes] at job fairs, you see students who come in and don’t really know much about the organization they talk to. Because of the work that UMaine does to promote the Career Fair, and [because] the university works to maintain those relationships, more students come in prepared and dressed right for the job. They can look us up online and come in with the right questions.”
Skylar Wright, a second-year civil engineering student, noted that he liked the number of vendors that were based in Maine.
“I’m looking to stay in Maine once I graduate,” Wright noted. “It’s great when the [vendors] are super friendly and proactive about what they want and letting people know that they are Maine-based. It is really cool to see so many companies wanting face-to-face interaction with students.”
UMaine is dedicated to helping students get career experience, and Crissane Blackie of the UMaine Career Center noted that the university has seen approximately 1000 students attend the fair in the past.
“We are excited to help students explore employment opportunities in Maine and beyond. According to the ‘Life After UMaine Survey,’ in 2017, 74.3% of in-state students were employed in Maine and 18.6% of out-of-state students were employed in Maine,” Blackie said. “We can support Maine employers by helping them meet and identify talented students that will make an impact on Maine’s economy.”
To find out more about future career fairs, or to connect with employment opportunities at UMaine or with local businesses, contact the Career Center located on the third floor of the Memorial Union, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.