BATH, Maine — A group of volunteers at Morse High School is attempting to fill a gap for students seeking jobs and higher education with the advent of the Regional School Unit 1 Career Center.
The center, located at the high school, seeks to be a resource in areas ranging from helping students with college essays and job applications to recruiting community members to hold workshops and lectures in schools throughout the district.
According to retired Phippsburg Elementary School teacher Merry Chapin, who founded the career center with retired Morse High educators Lynda Wyman and Christina Hagan, the intent of the program is to pick up the slack for teachers and guidance counselors who are overloaded.
“Teachers never get enough support and enough help,” said Chapin. “We figured we’ll just help out however we can help out.”
The career center is open during school hours five days a week. Students are welcome to drop by anytime for help with a range of issues. One student already has secured a part-time job at Burger King with help from the career center’s volunteers.
A key goal of the program, Chapin said, is to build a network of local employers and organizations that will employ students or at least welcome them for internships or job-shadowing agreements.
“Since we started, we have been contacting area businesses and asking if they’re hiring, and if they’re not, that they let us know when they have jobs available,” said Chapin.
After months of planning and approval from the RSU 1 school board, the career center opened in early November. So far there have been more ideas than time to follow through on them but Chapin said the list of volunteers is growing daily. Chapin said the group is even compiling a clothing bank for students to use for interviews.
“Most of the students we’ve seen so far have come in looking for work,” said Wyman. “So far this program has been met very favorably.”
Part of the goal in the early going is making families and teachers in the district aware that the program can be a resource far outside the bounds of what is usually expected from a career center. To that end, students and volunteers have spent the past several days bagging “reindeer snacks” and “snowman soup” for the more than 400 students in the district in first grade or younger.
“We try to be here to help the kids,” said Wyman.
Hagan said part of her role so far is helping students understand what questions to ask when it comes to finding a job or affording college.
“A lot of students don’t know what they need to do in order to accomplish what they want,” she said.
To volunteer at the career center, post a job or coordinate a student internship program, call 443-8250, ext. 1010, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.