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Notes from APP and NMDC
Volume 3, Issue 117
Dec. 5, 2014
In This Issue
OA Milestone
Ag Working Group
Featured Article
Opportunities Aroostook hits Facebook milestone

    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.
com. The Facebook page link is,  www.facebook.com/
MMG Insurance invests in education with a donation to Junior Achievement of Aroostook

    AROOSTOOK COUNTY - MMG Insurance is investing in the education of area youngsters with a $1,000 donation to Junior Achievement of Aroostook.

    Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to educating students in grades K-12 about financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship through experiential, hands-on programs.

    "We feel it important to support Junior Achievement of Aroostook based upon its mission of providing County students an opportunity to learn new skills in the areas of business management and financial literacy," said MMG Insurance CEO Larry Shaw.

    Mark Wilcox, of Dead River Company and the head of the Aroostook County area Junior Achievement Board, said donations like the one from MMG Insurance are vitally important to allow us to supply students and teachers in Aroostook County with the classroom materials we use each year.

    Andrew McNeally, back left, and Phil Bosse mentor a team of Caribou students at the Junior Achievement Titan Challenge last winter.

    "JA Aroostook relies on the generosity of its donors and volunteers and without them it would be impossible to reach the number of students we do each year," he said. "In the 2013-14 school year, JA Aroostook taught 66 classes to over 800 students in Aroostook County on topics such as personal financial responsibility, insurance basics, family budgeting and managing credit, among others. Donations like this make all of these classes possible and we are very grateful for partners like MMG."

    Shaw added JA is also filling a specific need in Aroostook County.

    "The model of Junior Achievement is unique given its focus and it helps to fill a gap that is difficult for our area schools to provide in regular curriculum," said Shaw. "The fact that JA's activities are led by local business people provides yet another activity which creates a connection between our schools and business community. As we all know, we need to foster any opportunity that creates awareness that there are opportunities in the County."

    Helping to grow Junior Achievement in Aroostook County has been one of the pillars of the Aroostook Partnership for Progress (APP) Education to Industry campaign.

    Bob Dorsey, APP President and leader of the Education to Industry working group, believes that "JA is a key component to our strategy to increase awareness of emerging jobs in Aroostook, promote job shadow opportunities, and ultimately to retain and focus the training efforts of our younger workforce."

    MMG Insurance is a founding investor in the Partnership and a leader by example in promoting JA, the Young Professionals Institute and in setting up paid internship positions within their growing company.

Sherman certified
business-friendly

    SHERMAN - Another Aroostook County community has been "Certified Business-Friendly" by the state. Sherman joins Van Buren, Caribou, Fort Kent and Presque Isle in achieving that designation in northern Maine.

    The "Certified Business-Friendly Community" program, administered by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, encourages Maine municipalities to take a critical look at all areas of their business attraction strategy and examine ways the community interacts with businesses to promote new private investment.

    A team of public and private economic development experts reviews each application to determine eligibility in the program.

    Some of the business-friendly characteristics that earned Sherman its "certified business-friendly" designation include:

- Establishment of a joint Tax Increment Financing (TIF) policy with Stacyville and Patten.

- Straightforward licensing and permitting policies.

- Creation of an Upper Valley Economic Corporation Revolving Loan Fund.

- Securing grant funding for numerous community projects.

- Many quality of life amenities.

    With the addition of Sherman, 31 Maine communities have been designated "Certified Business-Friendly."


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