From Hannaford to NASA, 2nd Annual Virtual Career Fair Draws in Students from Across Maine to Explore Diverse Career Options

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The 2nd annual Virtual Career Fair took place on March 22nd drawing close to 10,000 students from schools across Maine for live sessions including 130 presentations focused on diverse career options.

Hosted by Maine’s Community Coordinators Collaborative (C3), a Maine organization of educators working to support students with career exploration, the event was a collaborative effort between the Maine Department of Education (DOE) and ACTEM (Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine).

This is the second time that C3 has hosted a successful state-wide virtual career fair that is accessible to schools and students throughout the state.

“The virtual career fair has allowed us to expand access and to expose students to the many diverse professions in Maine,” said Sheree Inman, co-chair of the ME Virtual Career Fair.

This year’s event spanned the course of a week and featured keynote messages from Commissioner of Education Pender Makin, Mark McInerney of the Center for Workforce Research and Information, Cary Olson Cartwright, Unum’s Assistant Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility, and David Herring, Executive Director of the Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment, in addition a vast array of businesses and organizations from different industries gave students the opportunity to choose to attend the sessions that interested them.

Participant feedback following the event showed that more than 80% of participants rated the quality of the career sessions a 4 or a 5 on a 5-point scale, and 76% of participants rated their overall experience as very good or excellent.

“Our students thoroughly enjoyed the career fair,” said a Middle School Educator from East Grant School. “They learned many new things. They were very engaged and very pleasantly surprised by how much they enjoyed themselves. We let the students choose up to 4 sessions each day and structured our assignments around their sessions. It was busy but productive and valuable.”

Some of the student participants also had the opportunity to comment on specific sessions they attended. Here is what they had to say:

“This was so interesting! I loved hearing about her [Jessica Meir, NASA] journey that got her to achieve her goal of going to space.”

“I really liked learning about Hannaford and how to get a job there.”

“Going into the medicine field has always been my dream and the presenter gave helpful tips and information about the journey out of high school to be in the medicine field.”

“I absolutely love animals and I’ve always wanted to be a vet, the presenter taught me so much in just 30 minutes.”

“They were very enthusiastic about their career [in small business/fashion] and gave us very interesting things to learn about. The overall presentation was so, so good and aesthetically pleasing! Love it!”

An enormous thank you to the Maine Virtual Career Fair Planning Committee: Sheree Inman, South Portland High School (co-chair); Justine Carlisle, Yarmouth Schools (co-chair); Dede Bennell, Freeport High School; Rick Wilson, Maine Department of Education; and Diana Doiron, Maine Department of Education.

Financial assistance and support for this successful event was made available to schools through the generous support of the Maine DOE, UNUM, Bath Iron Works and many other local businesses. For a list of businesses and logos visit https://www.mevirtualcareerfair.org/.

Learn more about C3:

The Community Coordinators Collaborative (C3) was created in 2018 and is composed of education professionals working to support students with career exploration, extended learning opportunities (ELOs), internships, and job shadows. The group was developed to share resources and provide a platform for industry associations and business organizations to discuss potential workplace opportunities for students. See a listing of C3 Members.