Hundreds of 7th graders attend Outdoor Career Fair

HINCKLEY, Maine (WABI) - With the labor shortage in the state, an Outdoor Career Exploration event was held at Kennebec Valley Community College.

"I've heard from a lot of farmers that they are defiantly having a difficult time trying to go against other job opportunities and so they are looking for people to get interested in agriculture before they move on."

Nearly 500 Central Maine middle schoolers attended the event.

It was hosted by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and Jobs for Maine's Graduates.

"The trades in Maine have a serious workforce shortage so we believe that by bringing students in here, to be able to work with Maine Department of Transportation, to be able to do simulators, heavy equipment, working with different vendors that they are going to learn that these are viable trades in our state that lead to good, meaningful careers."

It featured over 40 organizations and businesses that included logging, forestry, recreation and much more.

"The exposure is important. The exposure to a variety of occupations. Many of the things that they wouldn't be exposed to if they hadn't been here."

The goal was to address the labor shortage and to provide employment opportunities in outdoor careers.

"There's a labor shortage out there and some of these kids, maybe college isn't for them and we've got some wonderful opportunities for them."

"Just that we have such a shortage of workforce in the construction field. We have over a half million jobs today that could be filled if we had skilled workers to fill them."

The event hopes to inspire teachers to bring more agriculture literacy into the classroom.

"I think it's really great for kids to always be thinking about what they are interested in in the future, that can be an evolving thing but sometimes people will figure out what they want to be in when they are in fourth grade or younger."