New website provides employment opportunities for high school students in Aroostook

Posted Nov. 12, 2010, at 3:14 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:49 a.m.

HOULTON, Maine — High school students in Aroostook County will now have another avenue to find employment opportunities in their area thanks to a new website created by a local businessman.

Highschoolhelpers.com, designed by Fred Grant of Houlton, recently went live and is currently working with Aroostook County high schools to get students to become familiar with the site. He is working with state coordinators of Jobs for Maine Graduates to get the program off the ground.

“The idea came from my other site, Collegehelpers.com, which is essentially the same service, except for college-aged students,” Grant said. “I got the idea of expanding it to high school students one night when my wife and I were looking to go out, but our regular sitter was not available. I wished we had a site where people could find high school students looking for work. My wife said ‘Why don’t you make one?’”

Grant said he did several months of research to see what type of competition was out there for his target audience — high school students.

“At that time, I was thinking this would be just a site for part-time jobs,” he said. “But once I looked into it more, I found there were no sites for local teens or recent high school graduates. There were also no sites that partnered with local school districts.”

For eight years, Grant has run the Collegehelpers.com website, which provided the framework for creating the high school version of the website. His research included talking with school administrators around the state, and the majority of them agreed with his conclusion.

“While many people believe that the next step after high school is attaining a college degree, the fact is that over 70 percent of high school graduates enter the workforce without ever graduating from college,” Grant said. “And yet, there is virtually no high school in the country that provides the career services that colleges do.”

The high school site is in its “beta” stage of testing, according to Grant. It has the potential to turn into a national platform for high school students to seek employment around the country.

Highschoolhelpers.com will focus on both current high school students and alumni of high schools. Some of the popular types of job postings, according to Grant, are: childcare, retail, fast food, yard work, painting, computers, agriculture, marketing, customer service, cooking, receptionist, web design, moving, landscaping, snow removal, tutoring, animal sitting/walking, seasonal staff, cashiers, cleaning, filing and typing.

“What makes this different from any other site is we are more of a community effort to employ local students and high school graduates,” he said.

The fees to use the service are for employers only in the form of monthly posting fees. There is no cost for a student to enroll in the web board and browse the job listings. The fees for employers vary depending on how long the posting is listed and for how wide of an area they wish to reach out to.

Grant is currently presenting the program to local high school students so they become more familiar with the site. Students can create their own profiles, specifying the type of work they are interested in, the times of day they are available and what area they are willing to work. Potential employers can browse this information, but Grant said student contact information is kept confidential. Employers can reach out to students via the website’s message board.

“We don’t show a student’s phone number or anything like that for privacy reasons,” Grant said. “Potential employers can leave messages for students and the two can communicate that way.”

For businesses or individual employers, the new venture provides the following opportunities:

• Post a job in one location, and reach applicants anywhere in the USA.

• Post both part-time and full-time job openings.

• Search applicant’s profiles before posting a job.

• Save search criteria for future use.

• Messaging is handled directly through the website so important applications don’t get lost.

• Post jobs for up to a year.

• Employers have full control over their information and job listing. This means they can edit their job posting at any time and deactivate their job posting when they choose.

• No recurring fees — pay for the length of time needed.

• Employers can post jobs while at the same time keeping personal information private.

• Employers can choose to send a percent of their posting fee to a school or district of their choice.

In addition, as a way to give back to the schools, 10 percent of all the fees that come through the site go back to the school district that the employer designates.

For more information, contact Grant at fgrant@collegehelpers.com.

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