Penn College Program Connects Students, Employers
By Juli Reppert Student Writer/Photographer
A federal work-study program administered by Pennsylvania College of Technology is helping to identify and develop part-time employment opportunities for students enrolled at the college.
The Job Location and Development Program, unveiled in Fall 2004 by the Counseling, Career and Disability Services Office at Penn College, is designed to locate job opportunities both off and on campus for students, regardless of their financial-aid eligibility.
Dana R. Suter, JLD coordinator, says networking and feedback from students and employers help to make the program a success. She describes it as "an opportunity for business and education to work together to strengthen our community."
The JLD program tries to find students employment that is related to their programs of study. It benefits students by connecting them with local employers, allowing the students to work an unlimited number of hours specified by the employer and earn more money by doing so. It also helps the students improve their resumes, gain experience in a "real-work" environment and create connections that could lead to full-time positions.
"The JLD program took my past experience, personality and everything I mentioned in the interview and molded me a perfect opportunity," said Andrew T. Van Kuren, a general studies major from RR 1 Rome. "This chance landed me the job where I have been working for the past two semesters, demonstrating home-improvement projects. More importantly, I am working (at) a job I am happy with, and I owe that happiness to this program."
Debora J. Applegate, a surgical technology student from Montgomery, said, "The turnaround time was very fast from the time the job was posted and I received the information on who to contact, and I am now working at the YWCA."
"If there is one thing that all students need, it's money," noted Margie Torres of Williamsport, a dental hygiene major. "I am not the traditional student, and I support myself, and I was in need of a job. ... I am happy to say I got a job with the help of Dana and the JLD program at Penn College."
Employers also benefit from the JLD Program − and meet workforce needs − by employing Penn College students. It helps them connect with future graduates and provides an opportunity to connect business and education. Any for-profit or not-for-profit employer is eligible to participate in the program.
Daniel Clarke, assistant marketing manager at Fanelli Window Pros, said, "Offering our position through the Job Location and Development office, we were able to reach an interested audience to find the perfect candidates."
"The JLD office made it simple for us to hire the staff we needed," said Deb Dominick, director of health and prevention at the Williamsport YWCA. "The college will even do the preliminary work for your business. Just let them know the type of student your organization is in need of, and they will send you applicants that fit your need. You do not spend endless hours going through applications of persons that are not suitable for the position."
The program's first-year goal was for the students to earn $50,000 or more. Thus far, 67 students have been employed by the program, earning $121,597 in combined wages. "I am really pleased with the success we have had this year," Suter said.
Students must complete a form and attend an in-person orientation session to participate in the program. Forms are available in the JLD Office, located in Room 204 of the Bush Campus Center.