Penn College students in demand at Career Fair
The employers – including 27 Fortune 500 companies – offered nearly 4,900 job and internship opportunities to the 1,942 students who attended the event at the college’s Field House and Bardo Gymnasium. Student participation was the highest in the college’s history.
The number of employers and students exceeded national benchmarks for college career fairs. A recent survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that schools averaged 208 employers and 1,441 students at career fairs.
“The high participation rate among both employers and students reflects the tremendous value of a Penn College education,” said Erin S. Shultz, coordinator of career development. “Penn College students are real-world ready, thanks to the unique blend of theory and hands-on experience they receive in our 100-plus diverse majors. Employers are well-aware of that fact.”
Those employers include Anderson Equipment Co., a distributor for construction, mining, forestry and specialty equipment. Jerry Skiff, director of service, has recruited students at seven Penn College Career Fairs.
“For every 60 individuals leaving our industry annually, there are only 13 coming in. There’s been a tremendous shortage for a lot of years, and Penn College turns out some of the best students we’ve ever hired,” Skiff said. “Generally, we do a preemployment test before we hire students. Penn College normally scores 20% higher than some of the other colleges that we talk to.”
Freshman Marcayla M. Lutzkanin, of Port Carbon, hopes to take that test one day. Lutzkanin, who is seeking associate degrees in diesel technology and heavy construction equipment technology and a bachelor’s degree in management, spoke to Anderson Equipment representatives about summer internship opportunities.
“I want to get my name out there, so I can make better relationships with companies that I might possibly want to work for in the future,” she said.
Ben H. Wagner, of Muncy, incorporated the same strategy. A freshman building automation technology student, Wagner hoped to find a summer internship.
“I’ve already talked to some employers. Even though I’m a first-year student, they are still interested in talking with me,” he said. “It’s good to see what people are looking for.”
Senior Nathaniel A. Haefka, of Wyalusing, secured his recent internship as a result of last spring’s Career Fair. He’s already obtained an associate degree in mechatronics and will graduate in December with a bachelor’s degree in applied management.
“I have a job offer from where I did my internship,” he said. “I’m just trying to see if there is something closer to home that’s maybe a little better fit. It’s really good to see the opportunities that are out there.”
Amcor Rigid Plastics, a global company that develops and produces packaging, sought potential interns and full-time hires at the Career Fair.
“We’re here because of the plastics program and the technical talent,” said Tom Hall, a company recruiter. “We are trying to position Amcor to the underclassmen for internships and co-ops. Then when they are ready to graduate, we have full-time employment worldwide available to them.”
The average conversion rate from intern to full-time hire is 56.1%, according to the 2019 Internship and Co-op Report compiled by NACE.
As a senior, Gina M. Peluzzo, of Philadelphia, used the Career Fair to identify potential full-time job opportunities. She graduates in May with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering technology.
“I spent about 10 to 15 minutes talking to 10 different employers,” she said. “I’m optimistic. I have an interview scheduled tomorrow with one employer.”
More than 30 employers spent an extra day on campus to conduct 252 formal interviews with students.
“Employers love the kids that this school produces,” Peluzzo said. “That’s why the Career Fair is packed every year.”
Meghan Rivera and Kimberly Kinard, recruiters for UPMC Pinnacle, a health system serving several counties in South-Central Pennsylvania, echoed Peluzzo’s sentiments.
“We have a lot of current employees who have attended this college,” Rivera said. “We want to continue that relationship.”
“The students are professional, friendly, well-spoken and prepared,” Kinard added. They presented themselves very well. We have lots of prospects.”
So did Komatsu Northeast, an equipment distributor for construction, mining, industrial and forestry industries.
“We have quite a few leads and have scheduled interviews with students,” said Dave Eister, director of training. “We have about eight graduates currently working for us. Very good students graduate from here, so we definitely are very pleased with the college.”
“The response to the Career Fair from employers and students is heartening,” Shultz said. “We take great pride in our effort to bring them together. Participation in the Career Fair is growing every year and is a main reason why Penn College’s most recent graduation placement rate is 97.3%.”
The college will host its next Career Fair in March.
Penn College is a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development. Email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.
– Photos by Tom Wilson, writer/editor-PCToday, and Juvy A. Orillaza, student photographer
In addition to students and alumni, faculty enjoy networking opportunities with Career Fair exhibitors. Richard K. Hendricks Jr. (right), instructor of automated manufacturing and machining, talks with Sam Shea (left) and Gerry Ulsamer, of PMF Industries Inc.
A student gets two-on-one attention from Mike Lindhurst (left) and Lino Stenta, from F.S. Lopke Inc., which has served the Twin Tiers for more than 50 years.
Allan Myers Inc., a heavy civil construction and construction materials company that has been a steadfast supporter of Penn College, met with students inside the Field House ...
Cleveland Brothers, a 25-year supporter of Penn College students and faculty, is again represented by Randy L. Fetterolf – emblematic of Penn College's longtime partnership with Caterpillar dealers.
Helping to handle the crowd at the FedEx Freight booth is Dustin Schmerge, district fleet maintenance manager. FedEx has been a phenomenal supporter of the college, hiring a number of graduates and making substantial equipment donations – from retired aircraft to multiple over-the-road vehicles.
Lex R. Yocum, of Watsontown, enrolled in building science and sustainable design: architectural technology concentration, assesses his options at the Larson Design Group display. Assisting in his exploration is Kaylee Caruso, a recruiter for a firm where Penn College grads represent a quarter of the workforce.
Current students and job-hunting alumni work a Field House floor full of vendors.
On hand to talk with students in the new concrete science technology major are Forcine Concrete and Construction's Teo Camejo (left), vice president, human resources, and employee recruiter Michael Flick.
... and in a mobile attraction outside.
Jordan D. Mann (right), a 2018 graduate in welding and fabrication engineering technology, discusses career possibilities at Hershey Foods.
With two construction degrees each, alumni Thomas M. Whitehouse (left) and Brian D. West are knowledgeable advocates for the Maryland-based Harkins Builders.
West Pharmaceutical Services Inc.'s Orion Behrer, who earned business-related degrees in 2004 and 2006, hands an application to Kaylee N. Burk. Burk, of Hermitage, is an engineering design technology student and a member of the Wildcat archery team.
Johnson Controls' Alex M. Zelger, a former Wildcat baseball player and May graduate in welding and fabrication engineering technology, wasted no time in returning to campus!
Fronius USA, whose ongoing relationship with Penn College includes new equipment for the welding expansion to be dedicated next year, is represented by Nicholas R. Bruce, a 2018 welding and fabrication engineering technology grad.
Skylar L. Gingrich, a 2013 grad in residential construction technology and management: building construction technology concentration, talks with visitors to the Benchmark Construction Co. booth. A project manager with the Lititz firm, the former Wildcat baseball player was a 2018 inductee to the Penn College Athletics Hall of Fame.
Mohanad T. Alquraish, a nursing student from Saudi Arabia, talks with Kimberly Kinard about health care opportunities with UPMC Pinnacle.