A free ride might fill job market

The Maine CareerCenter held a job fair Monday morning.

The event was held at its office on Mollison Way in Lewiston where more than 30 employers — all of whom are hiring — were available to talk to job seekers.

This was, in simple terms, a recruitment effort by Carbonite, Cianbro, Fastenal, FedEx, Geiger Bros., Grover Gundrilling, Lee Auto Mall, International Paper, TD Bank, Time Warner Cable, Sunday River, several temporary agencies and other employers to put people to work.

The parking lot at the CareerCenter was packed, a clear demonstration that many employers are ready to hire and the unemployed are eager for jobs. Many of the cars in that lot belonged to employers, but many others belonged to potential workers. Others looking for employment took the CityLink bus and others walked some distance to the site.

We wonder, though, how many people could not or did not attend the event because they didn't have transportation to the CareerCenter, located on outer Main Street near Marden's.

A lot of people who don't have jobs can't afford a car and many unemployed can't afford a bus ticket or cab fare. Others, who rely on friends and family for rides, may not have had that option on a workday morning.

That doesn't mean these people don't want to work, it just means they can't get a ride to the recruiting event.

The CareerCenter, which is part of the Maine Department of Labor, does purchase some CityLink passes for people who use the center to attend workshops or use the computers to write resumes. But there are no such passes for people to attend job fairs.

Mollison Way is about 2.5 miles from downtown Lewiston, and still farther from the residential streets of Auburn. For people who like to walk, that's a doable distance, but it's not a distance that every person can manage.

It seems, if Maine is serious about getting people back to work, that when the Labor Department hosts these events it should make it easy — inviting, even — for people without ready or affordable transportation to attend.

CityLink, otherwise known as the "purple bus," is a project of the quasi-municipal Lewiston-Auburn Transit Committee, and it would be easy for LATC and the state's Labor Department to work together to offer bus passes for job seekers to attend these fairs.

We're not suggesting that the unemployed ride free at will, but the point of these government-hosted job fairs is to get employers and job seekers face to face to match needs and skills. If ready workers cannot attend these events simply because they don't have transportation, employers are shortchanged.

Perhaps more importantly, the public pays by funding continued social services for the struggling unemployed.

Would we, as taxpayers, prefer to pay the occasional $1.50 single ride fare so someone might find a job, or pay for a week's worth of general assistance for someone who can't get a ride to fill out a job application and jump back in the labor pool?

jmeyer@sunjournal.com

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.

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Comments

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Free rides to job fairs. Next

Free rides to job fairs. Next it'll be free rides to the voting booth, and next it'll be free rides to work, free rides to grocery shopping, the movies, our favorite pub.
"Hey, sign me up for that"!!, shouted the anticipatory parrot.
Wait a minute, with Western Maine Transportation and Community Concepts don't we already have those 'free' rides?

Jim Cyr's picture

Free ride to

job fair ? And how will they get to work if they get a job ? Just ridiculous !

AL PELLETIER's picture

Easy problem to solve.

Hats off to these great companies for trying to put people back to work.
The transportation problem for job seekers can easily and cheaply be solved if these great companies offered to reimburse the bus or cab fair to folks they interview.
This might encourage more well qualified candidates to show up who otherwise could not afford to.
Also, as Steve said, public transportation should be pleased to give anyone going to the job fair location a free ride.

Steve  Dosh's picture

A free ride might fill job market

Ed. 12.09.18 08:30 am ish
Yes ?
In fact , here in Hawai'i our county Hele-on bus system was ƒree for a year until m a n y homeless , underemployed , under served and under skilled individuals found jobs on this , the big island of Hawai'i • It co$ts a buck to ride anywhere on this island right now and one can spend 2.5 hours doing it , from Kona to Hilo and back
h t h ? /s , Dr. Dosh and ohana

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/Six-Sacred-Sites-of-Hawaii.html?utm...

:D

Lindsey Montana's picture

Subsidizing city folks

No transportation scheme would be able to service rural job seekers as easily as ones in town. By involving the Labor Department, this idea would subsidize people living in Lewiston/Auburn at the expense of everyone else. Furthermore, the math is wrong... the $1.50 proposed doesn't result in any more jobs being secured, so there is zero benefit to taxpayers. If someone with a subsidized ride gets the job instead of someone who drove there, where's the savings to the taxpayers that was trumpeted in the editorial? HINT: the answer begins with a z and ends with an o.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Good point

Good point

Steve  Dosh's picture

Lindsey ? 08:35 am - ish

Lindsey ? 08:35 am - ish Tuesday HST • 
We happen to disagree . The big island of Hawai'i has the same population density as Alaska . We have a similar population as Bridgeport CT and are the same size as CT ( this rather big island ) .Get your facts s t r a i g h t . We also have a similar population as ME . Post a picture . It is E Z to do . Yes we do and yes we can , We are not from Montana although we do listen to Hannah Montana and l o v e that other country singer named Taylor Swift
/s Dr. Dosh and ohana http://hawaiiannames.hisurf.com

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