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April 25, 2019

Employers signing up for statewide virtual job fair

Photo / Maureen Milliken MaineGeneral hospital in Augusta is one of the employers that will take part in a statewide virtual job fair May 7.

Businesses are signing up for the the state's first virtual job far, scheduled for Tuesday, May 7, and sponsored by the Central Maine Growth Council.

The virtual job fair, which will take place by video chat, is spurred by the the state's workforce shortage and a way to bring together employers and potential employees who may not have been able to connect in a site-specific job fair, organizers said.

Employers registered for the event include Capital Area Staffing, Central Maine Motors, Hammond Tractor, Hannaford, Jacobs Glass and Jacobs Restoration, MaineGeneral, MEMIC, Motivational Services, Northern Light Health, Parsifal, U.S. Army and Woodfords Family Services. 

Several other businesses "are in the pipeline," said Elaine Theriault-Currier, CMGC development coordinator. The growth council said it welcomes more employers to sign up.

Employers list job openings, and the page will be continually updated up until the job fair, Theriault-Currier said.

The Maine Virtual Job Fair will use a video chat platform to connect employers with job-seekers while eliminating the need for either to travel to a specific location for the event.

“Without transportation, geography, climate, or time barriers, the job search and talent search are more
convenient than ever,” said Theriault-Currier in a news release. “By virtue of its online location, Maine Virtual Job Fair allows recruiters and job seekers to connect from the office, home, library, or dorm, and employers with multiple branches can market all open positions rather than those local to a specific region.”

The concept for the virtual job fair comes as Maine's workforce shortage grows. The state has a 3.4% unemployment rate and the shortage presents several challenges for employers: Most of Maine’s workforce is currently working, making it difficult to attend workforce recruitment fairs, and many businesses are too understaffed to devote a portion of their day to those fairs, the news release said.

Yet the difficulty of finding employees has widened employers’ scope to include markets and audiences
not previously targeted, particularly those potential employees still in school. High schools, colleges, and
universities throughout Maine may also connect with employers during the job fair, the release said. Students may explore career paths, learn how their course concepts are applied in the real world, and inquire about job openings for current and graduating students.

The Maine Virtual Job Fair web page lists participating businesses, and is the portal to connect employers and job-seekers. Participating employers’ profiles will be posted before May 7, and each profile will include a link to the employers’ video chatroom. On May 7, those seeking an interview will click on the link of the employers in which they are interested and begin a conversation.

For those without access to internet or computers, Central Maine Growth Council is partnering with with libraries and state CareerCenters. Those who'd like to connect with one may call 207-680-7300. Potential participants may also sign up for email updates on the web page.

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