A worker bends polycarbonate sheets to make face shields at a manufacturing facility in Whitefield. Credit: Courtesy of ProKnee via Lincoln County News

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An effort to fill 1,000 production and manufacturing jobs in southern Maine continues amid a time of record unemployment — 10.6 percent in the month of April.

Barbara Shannon of CoWorx Staffing Services said employers are seeing interest in positions from unexpected sectors.

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“We have a lot of college students that aren’t sure if they’re going back to school in the fall, so they’ve shown remarkable interest in doing the job and getting into production, which is very encouraging,” Shannon said.

Shannon’s national staffing service also has seen a notable level of interest from new Mainers, but the state’s relatively low population is making it a challenge to fill the positions. And federal relief programs may have added to the challenge of filling positions, she said.

“Once the stimulus does go away we do expect the tide will turn, and there will be a lot more people that will need to return to work very quickly,” Shannon said.

CoWorx Staffing Services initially announced openings in Saco, Westbrook and Scarborough at facilities that are producing tests to detect COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. They have since also contracted with a food packaging business that has seen 40 percent business growth in recent months.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.