AROOSTOOK COUNTY - The Opportunities Aroostook initiative has passed a significant social media milestone. The Opportunities Aroostook Facebook page raced past the 1,000 "likes" mark as more and more people are exploring work, recreation and social opportunities in Aroostook County.
Opportunities Aroostook is a collaborative effort between the Aroostook Partnership for Progress (APP), LEADers Encouraging Aroostook Development, businesses and educators to grow the 18- to 44-year-old workforce in Aroostook County.
Opportunities Aroostook grew out of the APP Education to Industry initiative, which looks to connect high school and college students with emerging jobs in The County, but even if the region retained every student projections indicate there still wouldn't be a large enough workforce to meet needs.
Comprised of a social media component and a job/resume posting website dedicated to employment in the region, Opportunities Aroostook looks to target the passive job seeker in addition to the active job seeker.
"We are very pleased thus far with the attraction that our Facebook page has received," said LEAD Executive Director Ryan Pelletier. "Folks are very supportive and are liking and sharing our page with their friends, which in turn boosts visibility and encourages more people to explore available job opportunities in the region. I hear from people everyday thanking us for getting the site up and running and most of that is driven via our social media campaign."
"We have heard stories from local companies that it can take months and can be quite expensive to find the right qualified job applicants and in many cases, companies hire or promote the 'best available locally' as opposed to a 'fully qualified' candidate," said APP President Bob Dorsey. "The thought of connecting Opportunities Aroostook via social media to reach out to former County folks (with experience, resumes etc.) to attract them back could potentially help companies get more qualified workers as well as help maintain our population base. We are getting likes from all over the United States and that is exciting."
Although the Facebook page currently consists of job notices and recreational opportunities, the long-term plan is to highlight social, cultural and real estate opportunities as well.
"It is important to sell the region to potential employees," added Dorsey. "Attributes like what a good place to raise a family, the quality of our outdoor recreational options and the friendliness of the people are key."
"At its most basic level, the more Facebook 'likes' a business' Page has, the more popular it will appear to people, people who also might be encouraged to click 'like'," said Jon Gulliver, Director of Investor and Community Relations for APP. "However, amount isn't everything, we need to focus on getting the right "likes" for the page and having the users engage with the content, by sharing and commenting."
The free job/resume website, which is nearing 100 vacancies, can be found at www.OpportunitiesAroostook.