PARIS — Summer job seekers and professionals in the midst of a career change were among more than a hundred people who attended the annual Oxford Hills job fair last week.

Lodged in the cafeteria of the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, more than two dozen local and regional employers, met with future potential employees.

Ample space and need for a work – not to the mention the free company nickknacks and candy neatly organized on booth tables drove people to the event which organizers and employers agreed was better attended than in 2013.

Organized annually by Western Maine Community Action, which has provided assistance to low and middleincome families in Oxford hills since 1965, the event was full of employers looking to add seasonal and longterm positions.

In a room adjoining the cafeteria, about a dozen applicants were studiously filling out applications they’d just picked up.

Chris Seeley, South Paris, said he was lured by the opportunity to switch careers; a truck driver and always on the move, Seeley said he wanted to find a job with a set schedule so he could spend more time with his family.

That job search hasn’t come easy. For a year and a half, Seeley’s been looking for a position in the area.

‘It’s hard finding a job,’ Seeley said as he filled out an application for Poland Spring.

Those sentiments were echoed by Dana Ingerson Jr., Otisfield, who was unemployed and looking to find a position.

Ideally, Ingerson said he’d like to find construction work – his last employers were K & K Construction and Jewell Tire Center – and had already submitted an application with Woolwich contractors Reed & Reed. It was his first experience at a job fair.

Kevin LaPointe, who recruits employees for Lewiston digital information security specialists Carbonite, said the venue remain a viable option for employers.

His company, which is on the lookout for 15 positions receiving tech support calls from customers, hires and retains a fair number of employees from job fairs.

‘We want to see customer service experience, aptitude, and someone who likes working with computers – we consider ourselves tech geeks,’ LaPointe said.

Following Maine and national trends, the unemployment rate in Oxford County has dipped, dropping to 7.3 percent in March, though the rate still lags behind the state average of 5.9 percent, according to the Maine Department of Labor.

Many local employers were looking to fill seasonal positions at campgrounds, an industry that blooms in the summer.

Papoose Pond Resort & Campground in Waterford annually hires between 50-60 workers for a variety of roles, from counselors, office staff, house keepers to security.

Operations Manager Kitty Winship said employees need to be outgoing and good with customers, as most positions interact directly with people.

While many former employers are rehired yearto- year, Winship said the campground finds ‘a fair amount’ of its employees from the event.

It’s the type of position that drew Lynette Thayer, South Paris, to venture indoors on a bright, sunny day.

After moving from Indiana to Maine to be closer with her grandchildren seven years ago, Thayer said she swapped jobs running a preschool for retail work. Now retired, she wants work where she can spend time outdoors with kids.

Though in the past landing a job was simple as walking into a store and picking up an application, Thayer said her job search has had to adapt.

‘It’s not so easy to do that anymore.’

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