On Aug. 29, Mid-Coast Energy Systems was among 140 other businesses to set up a booth for the Hire-a-Vet campaign in the Augusta Armory. The state-sponsored program is under the direction of the Maine Department of Labor. Its goal is to result in the hiring of 100 Maine veterans to be hired within one 100 days.
Mid-Coast Energy Systems Facilities Manager John Blodgett estimates that well over 300 veterans in attendance spoke with representatives of such companies as Hancock Lumber, Bath Iron Works, TD Bank, and Texas Instruments. Other potential employers there comprised most of Maine’s law enforcement agencies. According to Blodgett, two vets were hired on the spot by various businesses, many resumes and applications were submitted, and Mid-Coast Energy Systems had the opportunity to interview several prospective candidates.
In her opening remarks for the event, Adria Horn, director of the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services and a U.S. Army veteran, told attendees that veterans make up about 10 percent of the state’s population. She also noted that it can be hard for veterans to find jobs, as they did not join the job market right away but rather chose the military instead. This lack of experience may put them at a disadvantage when compared with those who entered the job market right out of school.
Mid-Coast Energy Systems fully understands and appreciates the dilemma outlined by Horn. For the past few years, the company has proudly accepted the challenge to fill tech positions with qualified individuals. The Northeast in particular has been experiencing a shortage of skilled trade workers. Anticipating this dilemma back in 2015, Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services developed its own in-house training program, and this year developed a new and aggressive apprenticeship program.
According to the Maine Department of Labor, last year’s Hire-a-Vet campaign netted jobs for 197 veterans, hired by 147 employers at an average wage of $22.23 an hour. As part of the campaign, the labor department offers services for veterans and eligible members of their families as well as incentives for employers to help make the job search easier.
For more information on job opportunities at Mid-Coast Energy Systems, go to midcoastenergysystems.com.