Younger Workforce in Maine PART 2

BRUNSWICK, Maine (WABI) - With Maine's workforce getting older, there are now a higher percentage of jobs available to students and recent college grads.

But, many believe they have to leave the state in order to find work.

One recruiting initiative is now capitalizing on what Maine already has to offer, while getting folks to Live and Work in Maine.

"Our mission with Live and Work in Maine is to market the state as a career destination."

Over the last ten years, Maine has seen close to twenty-thousand job openings annually, according to the Maine Department of Labor.

For employers, the process of recruiting millennials to those jobs can be challenging, as is trying to keep them in the state.

One private sector initiative is trying to change the conversation about jobs in Maine.

"We help make sure the employer community gets the tools and access to the information that they need in order to do that, and we help them market specific job opportunities through our job board."

Ed McKersie, Founder and CEO of Live and Work in Maine, sees opportunity in Maine's workforce where others see an aging population and a disadvantage in Maine's location.

"I think sometimes people, you know, they see an initiative like this and they say, why are you trying to recruit people from out of state? I can't find a job, or I had to move, or my son or daughter had to move because they couldn't find a job. That's going to happen to any market."

Alongside McKersie is Nate Wildes, a U-Maine graduate and co-owner of Flight Deck Brewing in Brunswick.

Like a lot of students, Nate and his fiancee were told when they graduated, they would need to leave the state to find a "good job."

So, they did, and after a short stint in the Midwest, they moved back and he joined Live and Work in Maine with the goal of helping others find their passion.

"I've been fortunate to have some great jobs that have taught me that it's important to do what you love, but it's also important to do it where you love."

Over the past two years, Live and Work in Maine has worked to bring a competitive advantage to the marketplace. Part of that is focusing on what tourism has built.

"The way I see it and the way a lot of my peers see it, is that work is life and life is work. If you are viewing them differently, you're probably not as happy as you could be as if you're looking at them all in one."

Live and Work in Maine has a wide array of employers and employees who are looking for jobs, but they also want to make sure college students are aware of their opportunities.

"They understand the importance of that kind of work. They understand whether it's temporary jobs, or internships, or job shadowing, they understand how valuable that is and it's resume building."

In order to envision a future for generations down the line, Wildes says we have to have faith in our young people and hope things will continue in a positive direction.

"I'm getting a much stronger sense of that optimism and of that direction from my peers than we have in the past, so I'll drink to that."

To learn more about Live and Work in Maine, head to their website: http://www.liveandworkinmaine.com/