The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School’s cafeteria was jam-packed on Tuesday morning with Island employers hoping to woo potential summer hires and year-round employees at the annual career fair.

About 100 local businesses applied for tables at the 40-minute event, a number so high that about half of them didn’t make the cut due to the cafeteria’s capacity, said business teacher and career fair coordinator Paul Angelico.

“There’s a lot of people here and you really want quality time if you’re trying to sell your business to people,” he said.

The fair is an increasingly popular way for Island businesses to find new hires who are already acquainted with the Vineyard community and have housing.

Police Sgt. Dan Cassidy, who was at the Oak Bluffs police department table, said that they’re on the hunt for the department’s next community service officer, a civilian position that is the usual first step for anyone interested in law enforcement. They successfully recruited a student last year and were hoping to again.

About 100 Island employers sought tables at the career fair. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“We’re looking for Island-grown people because housing is very difficult,” he said. “And if we find someone here with a family, it’s not an unfamiliar face from off-Island.”

Mr. Cassidy explained that he started out as a community service officer, as did several of his fellow police officers. The role involves directing ferry offloading, enforcing downtown parking, getting CPR-certified and navigating the department computer system. It’s a position that does not require prior knowledge about law enforcement or, like most of the jobs being offered at the fair, a degree.

The career fair is available to students in all four grades. Some people have their eye on a temporary summer gig, others are looking for a way to spend a gap year post-graduation. Regardless, there’s opportunities for all types of students.

Representatives from the Martha’s Vineyard Bank were especially open to hiring older students who are not planning on attending college and are instead interested in starting full or part-time jobs right after graduating.

Health care workers from the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital wanted to expose students to types of hospital jobs that don’t require a four year higher education degree and are lesser known than the usual doctor and nurse positions.

“When I went to nursing school when I was young, I had no idea how you become a physical therapist or that you could be a tech in physical therapy before going to physical therapy school,” said nurse practitioner Marcy Holmes.

At the end of the fair, vendors filled out a questionnaire telling the school if they hired any students and if they’d like to see any changes at next year’s event.

Mr. Angelico, who has been at the high school for only six months, was happy to see the cafeteria fuller than ever. The fair’s popularity speaks to the Island’s severe housing and labor shortages and he said he was already conjuring up plans to expand the next fair to more school rooms to accommodate the high demand.