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Jun 28, 2023

Spreading the Clean Energy Word in Lewiston, Maine

BPA representative Hailey Champagne attends a job fair in Lewiston, Maine and shares their knowledge of the industry.

By: Hailey Champagne

What a way to start the summer! The Lewiston Job Fair in Maine had an awesome turnout, with almost a dozen employers camped together in front of the Career Center on Mollison Way. I was there representing the Building Performance Association (BPA) as part of the AmeriCorps VISTA program. In this role, over the next year, I’ll be working with Maine contractors to help weatherize homes in underserved communities as well as network with clean energy partners. This week, that networking came in the form of a local job fair. 

At the job fair, there were diverse employers, from Lewiston Public Works to the Walmart Distribution Center to a psychiatric rehabilitation center. The variety didn’t just end there; I was able to connect and converse with so many different demographics of people. 

There were various age groups, but I noticed I spent a good amount of time talking to older folks who were looking to get back into the workforce. This observation aligns with Maine’s growth of the aging population, as we have seen that more people are moving out of Maine at a younger age. It was interesting to speak to one couple looking for work. They had both lost their jobs from a company shutdown and are not ready to retire yet. I thought it was really valuable to listen to their lifetime of work experiences and learn how they have experienced the job market since they have been working for longer. I also admired them for not being deterred from engaging with new work after losing a career they had established with a company in Maine; it shows the resilience and tenacity that Maine workers have! 

Something exciting about this fair was the attendees’ interest in clean energy and learning about sustainability itself. Maine is known for its wildlife, forests, and natural landscapes, hence the nickname “Vacationland.” A seeker I spoke with was passionate about her yard’s resident porcupine and how urbanization changes the ecosystem. I sympathized with her, sharing my experience of seeing deer in Wisconsin graze in parking lots after the same urbanization she saw in rural Maine. 

The interest and passion were refreshing and gave me the perfect opportunity to show her how building performance plays a significant role in introducing clean energy to Maine. It was great to meet someone who could support BPA and the movement of clean energy, though in a different way. Sometimes, spreading the word and interacting with your community is as good as getting a lead for a potential employee. Going home with barely any fliers left also felt like a win!

Whether it be through a video blog, social media, or another written blog, I am excited to continue to report back to you on the stories of Maine and what we are up to!

Hailey Champagne

Hailey Champagne works with BPA as part of an agreement within Maine’s Clean Energy Partnership. They are part of the AmeriCorps VISTA program, which allows individuals to support organizations that make sustainable change in areas that affect poverty.

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