Four Belfast area businesses opened their doors and welcomed Mount View seventh-grade students for a "Jobs for Maine Graduates – Gear Up" event June 6, demonstrating potential jobs and the skills associated with each one.

Front Street Shipyard, Mathews Brothers Co., Bank of America and athenahealth all took part. Four buses shuttled a total of 85 students to the four venues for guided tours.

JMG Specialist Chad Larrabee was responsible for coordinating the event along with the Mount View seventh-grade teachers.

"We've done this for three years now," Larrabee said. "It's become a tradition. We believe it is crucial to expose our students to a variety of different career pathways as early and often as we can.

"By providing these 'lightbulb' moments, students have the opportunity to to start thinking about a future career pathway," he said. "If students develop these aspirations, they often tend to do better in school because they can see the light at the end of the tunnel."

Front Street Shipyard spokesman Nate Littlefield said welding, fabrication, painting, carpentry, purchasing, machining, mechanical, electrical and computers are all fields used at the shipyard.

"Every day is a new day," Littlefield said. "You will not be working on the same project over and over again. Once you begin working here, if you want to move to another department, we can train you."

Summer high school part-time positions are also a great way to sample what the company is all about, Littlefield noted.

Mathews Brothers spokesman Howard Hurd gave students a tour of the expansive window manufacturing plant, pointing out how math is still an important part of the job.

"We double-check the computer using math," Hurd said. "A sixteenth of an inch can mean a big difference in this business."

The first step in the manufacturing process, he explained, is to cut the glass, and computers aid in showing how to accomplish this.

Bank of America and athenaheaalth both offer a variety of different career pathways ranging from security guards to sales, and both focus on team building and making sure their employees are happy on the job.

Soft skills, such as customer service expertise and working together as a team, are  important at both companies.

Larrabee said the event "wouldn't be possible without these businesses investing their time into our youth and communities. These businesses understand how important their time and mentorship can be for our students and for developing our future workforce."