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Bangor area hospital addresses need for mental health care with 'ride and apply' event

On March 17 from 1-6 p.m. at 797 Wilson Street in Brewer, Northern Light Health is hosting a 'ride and apply' hiring event for mental health patient care techs.

BREWER, Maine — The demand for mental health care services has been growing, as Mainers continue to battle a pandemic that has affected us physically and mentally. To help address that need, a Bangor employer is getting creative by hosting an in-person job fair safely this week.

On Wednesday, March 17, Northern Light Health will be putting on a "ride and apply" hiring event in Brewer to find mental health patient care techs for Northern Light Acadia Hospital. It's happening from 1-6 p.m. at 797 Wilson Street, one of the home office locations for NLH. People interested in coming out can enter through the driveway off of Dirigo Drive and remain in their cars. Recruiters, managers, and supervisors will be onsite for interviews -- and some people could walk away with a job.

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Meghan Kotredes is a recruiter for NLH's talent acquisition team. She says this event is a way for employers to connect with candidates safely -- and still have that intrapersonal experience. This is the first time NLH has put on an event like this, and Kotredes says there are at least 20 open positions. Applicants must have a high school diploma and should be people who are interested in starting or changing their careers. Some patient care techs are also still in school to become nurses or social workers. 

This onsite job requires day-to-day work, like taking patients' vital signs, working on their daily life skills, and doing group sessions. It includes in-patient and out-patient positions with pediatrics and adults. Kotredes says those interested should consider what their preferences may be -- or discuss them onsite with hirers. These positions are flexible -- they can be per diem, or they can be full-time with paid time off, health benefits, and tuition or tuition loan repayment programs.

"There's always been a high demand for healthcare workers in the state of Maine, and it certainly is a case for the field of mental health, as well," Kotredes expressed to NEWS CENTER Maine about the need. "As we've seen over the last year, the pandemic has brought to light how critical the need is in Maine for the access to mental health -- and that's for all ages from young children all the way up to our senior citizens."

RELATED: $6.1 million awarded to two mental health organizations in Maine

This isn't the first drive-through recruitment event that has happened in the greater Bangor area this year. Last week, St. Joseph Healthcare held a similar event that organizers say was successful. That was its third one -- there were others in October and December last year -- and organizers say another is planned for July. So far, about 60 people have come out in total -- and about four or five people have been hired at each event. Lisa Richards, a provider recruiter with St. Joseph Healthcare, says it's a good way to get to know local people during the pandemic. 

"Certainly, we have had to transition, as has every organization, to a more virtual existence," Richards admitted. "I think with any type of evolution and any need to pivot because of the pandemic, you learn some new tips and tricks that maybe you wouldn't have instituted previously."

RELATED: Recognizing the coronavirus pandemic's impact on eating disorders

If you have a resume, you should bring it to the NLH event on Wednesday. You can also pre-register by visiting this website and applying for job ID # 2722. 

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