St. Albans, VT — Northwestern Counseling and the St. Albans Police Department, and Am Care were just some of the organizations that attended the first responders job fair.

“I wanted to be the guy you called when you didn’t know what else to do,” said Derek Choate, Operations Manager at Am Care.

“I was very mesmerized when I would see a police officer or deputy sheriff,” said Mark Lauer, Lieutenant for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department. “I was really intrigued with the K9 officers. Those were the people I aspired to be. As I reflect, as a child, it was the thing I wanted to do.” 

At the job fair, students getting a potential glimpse of their future.

“Well, I only got a minute and 30 seconds,” said Owen Baker, a student at Northwest Technical Center. ”It went pretty good.”  

“It went pretty well, I won, and it was fun,” said Jayden Fletcher, another student at the Northwest Technical Center. ”Fun to do stuff like that.”

The students attended the job fair through a class at the Northwest Technical Center.

“We’re here just to see new job opportunities and open our minds about the jobs around us.” 

“This is a great opportunity for my students to come out and meet first responders and the different professions to figure out their career paths,” said Kristine Koch, Fire Safety Instructor at Northwest Technical Center. “First Responders are humans just like everyone else. They just wear a uniform during the day.”

“If we don’t have enough officers, we can’t fill our contracts,” said Lauer. “And that leaves the area short on first responders.”

Being short-staffed can lead to longer response time in communities and for services that often require timely services that can be problematic.

“It really depends on their emergency, but for some people, it can be life threatening,” said Choate. 

The first responders enjoyed connecting with the students.

“When I was a child, police officers weren’t approachable,” said Lauer. “We stayed away. What might happen if I talk to a police officer. We now approach them and when we do. It creates rapport.”

They hope that rapport may lead some students to seek a job that could fill a real need.