WATERVILLE — More than 100 people came seeking employment opportunities Friday morning at a job fair hosted by the Central Maine Growth Council.

Thirty-five businesses set up shop in the T & B Celebration Center at 6 Jefferson St., and potential applicants ages 16 to 60 came in through the doors, according to Garvan Donegan, senior economic development specialist for the Growth Council. He said the companies represented a wide variety of fields, including information technology, health care, agriculture and construction. He said his organization was getting calls through Thursday night from companies interested in participating in the fair.

Companies represented included the technology company CGI and TD Bank, which together with the Central Western Maine Workforce Development Board sponsored the event. Local colleges such Thomas, Colby, Unity and Kennebec Valley Community College were on hand.

“It’s not just entry level,” Donegan said of the positions the companies were seeking to fill. “This is for everybody, entry level to higher up.”

Halfway through the event, he estimated at least 100 job seekers had come through the doors, and the businesses there already were finding the effort to be a success. He said his organization would follow up with the businesses to track applicants and hirings.

“This was very intentionally done,” he said.

Donegan said the venue, just off Kennedy Memorial Drive, was easy to reach. The parking lot was filled with cars, and a school bus brought in high school students, he said.

Kimberly Lindlof, executive director of the Growth Council and president of the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, said there had been “tremendous” business interest in the event. She said both high school and college students had filed in at points, as well as members of the community.

“I’m not surprised at all we had this kind of turnout,” she said.

Rick Bryant, intern director of CGI, said the turnout had been great Friday morning. At past job fairs, people would come up to the booth and ask what CGI was, Bryant said; but now potential applicants were coming up with knowledge and experience.

Bryant also said such events were collaborative. If a person with a set of skills better suited for a different company were to come up to him, he said he would direct that person to the right place.

Caroline Vautier, the head teller for the Waterville branch of TD Bank, said it had been a busy morning and a number of interested applicants had approached her booth. She said TD Bank is hiring for a wide range of positions, and at least 20 people had come up interested in applying for some type of job. Vautier, who has been with the company for six years, said TD Bank is a company that always has room for growth.

Rod Wiles, personnel director for Hammond Lumber Co., said there had been a steady turnout throughout the morning, ranging from first-time job seekers to people who had lost their jobs and were looking for new work, or people just looking for something different to do. He said Hammond hadn’t participated in an event like this recently, so he wasn’t sure what to expect. But he said it was a hard market for employers.

“There are a lot of people looking for workers,” Wiles said.

Oakland Town Councilor Don Borman was at the event, as the town recently voted to join the Growth Council. He said he thought he needed to see the event and what businesses were doing.

“It seems very productive,” he said.

Chris Avery, who lives in the Bangor area, said he came to the job fair looking for work and to see what was available. He said the event was pretty much what he expected, as he had looked up the participating companies online beforehand. As for the kind of company he’d like to work for, Avery said he’d like to find something “career oriented,” but he was looking for “whatever I can get right now.” He said there was a good mix of employers at the event, and he had just finished speaking with Northeast Laboratory Services because he wasn’t as familiar with them.

Jordhan Levine, a junior at Husson University studying business management, said he attended the event after getting out of a different job interview. He said he sees opportunity for Maine to grow, adding that it was nice to see people active and searching for employment.

“Things like this help you get going,” Levine said.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

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