Job fair welcomes former Lincoln mill employees

7:17 PM, Feb 20, 2014   |    comments
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BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Hundreds attended Bangor Career Center's job fair at Eastern Maine Community College Thursday where there were dozens of employers from the greater Bangor area. Hundreds of people in Northern Penobscot County have lost their jobs recently, among them mill workers from Lincoln wondering where their next paycheck will come from.

Lola Garfield lost her job as an engineer at Lincoln Paper and Tissue when the mill laid off most of its employees late last year. Now after 25 years of working at the mill, she came to Eastern Maine Community College's job fair, looking to try something new.

"I've talked with a lot of the workers and a lot of them are my age. You know, we're in our mid-fifties to late fifties, and you look at the jobs and a lot of them we're either over qualified for or don't have the qualifications, and I think that makes people a little nervous and a little scared," Garfield said.

She had been considering switching careers just before losing her job. But not everyone at the mill was expecting to have to do the same thing.

"People were not quite, maybe, prepared for it to close when it did," Garfield said.

Others attending the fair were changing their careers by choice. Patty Caswell has worked in the same field for years and is looking for a fresh start.

"I have a bachelor's degree in administration of justice, I have an associates degree in legal secretarial science, but medical is the way to go, that's the future. And so I'm sort of being retrofitted for that," said Caswell.

Although nervous of the change, Garfield is trying to embrace her situation as a positive opportunity. And the career fair today makes her feel like she can do it.

"I'm real encouraged. Obviously when you look for a job, they have a list of qualifications and it's kind of daunting because you're like, oh my gosh I'm not qualified for anything! And the folks that are here representing their companies are just awesome and saying, now now wait a minute, look at it this way and do this," said Garfield.

When one door closes, another door opens, and Garfield plans on finding that new open door.

Lola Garfield said she's thinking about teaching again. She plans on staying in Maine so she doesn't have to affect her family. She remains hopeful that she won't be out of work long.

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