A number of local business leaders and representatives gathered in the gym at Oceanside High School East in Rockland May 3 to talk to area students about future job opportunities in the Third Annual Career Day.

Employers including restaurants, supermarkets, department stores, communications companies, design firms and branches of the U.S. military were represented in booths the students could visit. The event allowed students to ask questions about the skills and education they will need for jobs in the community. In addition to students from Rockland, other communities were invited including a group of students and teachers from Vinalhaven.

"My goal for this day was for students to come away with knowledge of all the types of great careers that exist in Maine and to have the chance to network with individuals," said teacher Scott Browning, who organized the event. "Each of the individuals here representing the businesses have a wealth of knowledge about their field. The hope is that the students will speak with individuals that will spark their interest in something. Let's face it, when most of us were in high school we had no idea what we wanted to do after we graduated and oftentimes it was someone we talked to or saw doing a job that piqued our interest."

Browning is Oceanside's Jobs for Maine's Graduates Specialist. He teaches 45 students, ranging from sophomores to seniors, to prepare them for the workplace after graduation. He teaches students how to write resumes and cover letters and follows-up on the progress of graduates up to 12 months after they graduate.

"Many of my students that attended the Career Day today came away excited about someone they talked to," Browning said in an email. "In addition to businesses, there were a few post-secondary schools here including University College at Rockland. I had several students that were still undecided about school next year, or even were not considering college, filling out paperwork after the career fair to start taking a few classes at URock to get started."

He said the Jobs for Maine's Graduates program improves graduation rates at schools.

"The four-year graduation rate for JMG students is consistently 90 percent or higher," according to Browning, and "96 percent of students in JMG return to school the following year (five-year average)."

He continued: "85 percent of JMG students are either employed, in the military, or continuing their education immediately following graduation (five-year average)."

For more information about Jobs for Maine's Graduates, email Browning at sbrowning@jmg.org or visit jmg.org.

Courier Publications News Editor Daniel Dunkle can be reached at ddunkle@courierpublicationsllc.com or 594-4401 ext. 122.