AROOSTOOK COUNTY - OpportunitiesAroostook.com, which just passed the 70 jobs posted mark, is now out of beta testing and ready for the public.
OpportuntiesAroostook.com is a free job/resume posting website with a unique social media component to encourage people to explore career opportunities in Aroostook County. It also allows a business to market themselves through a number of online tools.
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.
A press event to kick off OpportunitiesAroostook.com was held Wednesday at Pines Health Services in Caribou. On the right side of the table are, from back, Bob Dorsey, President of APP; and Ryan Pelletier, Executive Director LEAD. To the left in back, Jamie Owens and Brittany Haines of AMHC and Douglas Christensen of WCXU.
"I think this is, if done correctly and used by the business community, a tremendous potential for getting the word out and attracting folks back here," said APP President Bob Dorsey.
Donations and commitments to the project are coming in to LEADers Encouraging Aroostook Development. So far, Pines Health Services, Katahdin Trust Co., TAMC, MMG Insurance and AMHC have either made a cash donation or committed to do so in the future.
"Our goal is to raise the necessary funding, working with our business community, to create a state of the art presence on the Web to entice job seekers and employers to post resumes, job announcements, etc. and be a resource that guides people back home," said LEAD Executive Director Ryan Pelletier.
Pines Health Services was the first organization to donate to the effort, but also the first to start posting open positions.
James Davis, Executive Director of Pines Health Services commented on the need for an effort like Opportunities Aroostook.
"Plain and simple, the economic survival and vitality of The County," he said. "Our critical 18- to 44-year-old population segment is below sustainable levels. Local companies who have openings for skilled and professional employees can not fill those positions, because of the widespread misperception that there are not any good-paying, career positions available."
The job/resume posting site is only one component of the effort. There is also a linked social media component consisting of Facebook and Twitter to attract the passive job seeker, someone who may not be actively looking, but would consider a move to or back to Aroostook County.
"We have heard many 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 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."
Dorsey added the effort will only work if employers in the region utilize the jobs site and become more active in recruiting new employees.
The job/resume posting website, www.OpportunitiesAroostook.com, was developed by Fred Grant at Northern Maine Media in Houlton. The Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/OpportunitiesAroostook
"The site is very easy to use and employers can manage their own listings," stated Grant. "However, we are there to support any employer that has questions or needs help navigating all the features."
For more information about Opportunities Aroostook, contact Jon Gulliver at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 498-8736.
For technical support, contact Grant at email@example.com or by phone at 532-3600.