Tourists for Hire?

Come to Maine for vacation, leave with a job opportunity? That's the hope behind a new job recruiting effort called Live + Work in Maine.

Tourists stopping at the Kittery Visitors Center or the Ocean Gateway Terminal in Portland may start to notice the posters and iPad kiosks, which have a database of job openings.

"We have this 'Visit for a week, stay for a lifetime campaign,' to get tourists to look at job opportunities while they visit Maine," said Live + Work in Maine founder Ed McKersie.

His website launched a few months ago, and it addresses one of Maine's weaknesses by playing up its biggest strength. Employers say it's difficult to recruit skilled workers to Maine, yet the state draws more than 30 million tourists each year.

McKersie's idea is to help prospective employees envision a life in Maine by pairing someone's hobbies and lifestyle preferences with job opportunities, divided by regions.

For example, if someone loves to ski in Maine, they can search job opportunities near popular ski resorts.

Since Live + Work in Maine launched, 250 Maine employers have signed up for the program, and some are offering a compelling incentive.

"We're saying to tourists, 'If you come to Maine with your family for week, save your receipts," said McKersie. "If you get hired by one of the employers that's participating within 12 months of that vacation, they might reimburse you as a signing bonus."

McKersie said the Live + Work in Maine kiosks will be appearing at a welcome center off the turnpike in Gardiner and at the ferry terminal in Portland in the coming months.

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