Maine’s Job Market Special Report Part 1 

There are more than two dozen colleges and universities in Maine. Each year members of their senior classes join the work force.

While many people have the impression, there are no jobs in Maine, and the brain drain is taking college grads out of state for work, the numbers don’t support that…

“Most people think, well there are no jobs in Maine and everybody needs to leave the state, and that is really not what our data is indicating, and that is for in-state and out of state students combined,” said Crisanne Blackie the Director of the UMaine Career Center. “So I think the in-state students is probably like 60-65 percent stay in Maine and out of state students is probably 25-or-30 percent of those students stay in Maine.”

As for those students who opt to leave the state after graduation, Kate Axelsen Foster, the UMaine Assistant Director for Employer Relations at the Career Center believes some aren’t gone very long. “They may leave for a short time, I do think that for certain industries and occupations there is a desire to want to go to Portland, or Boston, or New York City or a bigger metropolitan area, where there might be certain opportunities so I think it is going to be very occupation and industry driven.”

Connor Smart of Lincoln is about to graduate from UMaine as part of the honors college with a perfect 4-0 grade point average, he’ll have a degree in business administration with a focus on accounting and finance. “There were many options, there were a lot of firms that I talked with, within the state of Maine and I also considered some of the bigger, massive companies kind of outside the state down in Boston or New York and there was a lot to choose from.”

He landed a job, in October, with the firm Baker, Newman, Noyes in Portland and will start after graduation. “I applied through the UMaine Career Center, I had been talking with people from their firm for a number of years, I think since my sophomore year, and I liked them a lot and I thought they were really nice people and I think it will be a good fit.”

With the recent closures of mills, and annoucements of pending layoffs on their way this summer, the other prevailing thought is there are no jobs for these college graduates in Maine, but that doesn’t hold water either.

“I’ve seen a huge uptick,” said James Westoff, the Director of Career Service at Husson University. “I just heard recently the Maine Career Centers under the Department of Labor, they’ve posted the most jobs they’ve ever had this year as well, so there’s definitely been, I think the economy and the job market is very strong, very competitive, but very strong.”

Axelsen Foster agreed. “I hope it’s an upward trend that continues and we can help the students be successful ultimately and then help the employers find the talent that they are looking for.”