Students in demand at Penn College Career Fair
More than 230 companies, offering thousands of job and internship opportunities, met with about 1,000 students at the daylong event, split between the college’s Field House and Bardo Gymnasium.
“The Career Fair sold out in under three days. That’s the fastest we’ve ever filled all the spaces designated for employers,” said Erin S. Shultz, career events manager. “About 150 employers were on our waiting list, which was another record. Those companies were offered spots at the major-specific Employer Recruitment Days that we’ll be hosting during the next several weeks.”
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2022 report, employers plan to hire 26% more new graduates from the Class of 2022 than they did from the Class of 2021.
“No matter the economic climate, our tomorrow makers at Penn College are always in demand, thanks to their applied technology education,” Shultz said. “But this year, the need for their skill set appears to be especially strong.”
Companies ranging from regional entities to international corporations offered opportunities related to the college’s mix of innovative hands-on majors in the schools of Engineering Technologies; Nursing & Health Sciences; and Business, Arts & Sciences.
“The students are our future, and we really want to get the top talent and bring them into our business so we can keep growing,” said Christopher Velasco, human resources generalist for Fronius USA LLC. “Basically, we’re looking for students in engineering-related majors.”
A Corporate Tomorrow Maker partner of the college, Fronius is an Australian-based producer of welding technology, solar inverters and battery charges. The company was one of several to remain on campus an extra day to conduct interviews with students.
“The students have been professional,” Velasco said. “They are familiar with our product. It’s exciting that, if we were to hire them, that they would already know how to use our equipment. You don’t get that everywhere.”
Experience with Penn College alumni brought Robert Patterson, a senior associate at the architectural firm Noelker and Hull Associates Inc., to the Career Fair.
“We’ve had several great graduates from the school, and we’re looking for more,” he said. “So far, we’ve talked to a half-dozen candidates who we want to follow up with. That’s good.”
Many employers were represented by individuals with firsthand knowledge of a Penn College education. Approximately 100 alumni stood on the other side of the table recruiting for companies.
Jim Klinedinst, owner and president of Alpine Tree Experts Inc., graduated in 1997 with an associate degree in landscape/nursery technology. He’s hoping to add diesel mechanics and fabricators to his company’s workforce.
“I’ve been very impressed with the students, their demeanor, how they speak,” he remarked. “They’re outgoing and professional. The Career Fair is a great thing.”
When asked if he would have benefited from such an event as a student, Klinedinst smiled and said, “Yes.”
That sentiment was echoed by 1994 graduate Todd Watts, district operations recruiter for Weis Markets, a Corporate Tomorrow Maker with more than 200 stores throughout the Mid-Atlantic.
“Oh, my goodness, it would have been huge to have something like this when I was a student,” said Watts, who earned an associate degree in human services. “What’s offered to students today is pretty impressive compared to back in the day.”
Watts’ recruitment list included part-time store workers, aspiring managers, diesel mechanics and HVAC technicians.
“I have been impressed with the students. I’ve talked to several students, in-depth,” he noted. “It’s cool to see young people who have plans. It’s an exciting time for them because they can walk around and pick and choose from companies interested in their talents.”
Shane P. Cronin, a sophomore automotive technology student from Bellefonte, agreed.
“The Career Fair is amazing,” he said. “Otherwise, we would have to go out and try to source employers ourselves. Here, employers are ready and willing to talk to you.”
Coryn A. Oswald, of King of Prussia, majoring in plastics and polymer engineering technology, targeted possible employers prior to the Career Fair.
“I printed out resumes for the 23 plastics companies that would be here,” the junior said. “I was very nervous but feel much better now. Everyone has been receptive. So far, I’ve been offered four interviews for internships. From what I understand about my major, most of the time your internship leads to a job offer when you graduate. I’m so excited.”
Gabriel McKeon, who is scheduled to graduate next year with an associate degree in metal fabrication technology, was excited to see companies reflecting multiple career paths for his background.
“More than anything, I’m just trying to get an idea of what’s out there,” he said. “This has been incredible, standing here and talking to people. All the information I’ve gained today about employers, I would have no idea if I hadn’t come today. It was awesome.”
The college’s next Career Fair is scheduled for Oct. 4.
For information on Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.
– Photos by Cindy Davis Meixel, writer/photo editor (unless otherwise noted)
Brisk traffic between the two venues (Field House and Bardo Gym) could be seen all day. At right, three students stop to share insights on companies (from left): John S. Milliron, a building automation engineering technology student from Morrisdale; Ross A. Delauro, electrical technology from Mansfield; and Andre V. Parreira (back to camera), building automation engineering technology from Lock Haven.
Welding alumnus Adam J. Steppe (at center in black mask) was among the many graduates recruiting for their companies. The High Steel Structures welding engineer earned three Penn College degrees: welding, ’99; welding technology, ’11; and welding and fabrication engineering technology, ’13.
Career opportunities abound on the gymnasium floor.
TJ Gilbert (on right), a residential construction technology and management student from Blairsville, makes a stop at the Buch Construction table.
Technological devices, as seen at the Radius Systems booth, were among some of the “décor” attracting prospects to pause for conversation.
A familiar face (even partially hidden under a mask) returns to campus to recruit employees: alumna Whitnie-rae Mays, ’12, advertising art, and ’14, applied technology studies. The design and marketing manager for Blaise Alexander Family Dealerships, she stands ready to share giveaways and career options.
A handoff under a basketball hoop! This time, it’s a resume.
Lydia R. Anderson, a heating, ventilation and air conditioning technology student from Carlisle, is a study in concentration as she listens to a potential employer.
National Design Build Services fields an excellent spokesperson in HVAC graduate Gregory J. Miller, ’10 and ’12.
Rebecca Winters, human resources manager with NextGen Security, offers a smile (we can still see it!) and hearty handshake to a Penn College student.
Before a table full of professional nametags for their student colleagues, members of the Construction Management Association impressively mount a full-court press!
Civil engineering technology student Lily D. Ward (right) engages in conversation with Ashley Althouse, a human resources representative with Wagman.
Employers and job-seekers, each as eager as the other to make connections, fill the red-white-and-blue Field House venue.
Hoping for a career slam-dunk!
Dylan B. Whitmoyer, a freshman in construction management from Muncy, successfully navigates his first Penn College Career Fair – and receives a business card for his efforts.
Todd A. Bassett (center), '92, electronics engineering technology, discusses DuPont careers with Zavon M. Harris (left), an electrical technology student from Williamsport who already holds a degree in mechatronics engineering technology.
Career Fair exhibitors provided a win-win for Penn College students and alumni: Job-seekers were treated to samples from Nissin Foods and ConAgra Foods, and the remaining products were donated to The Cupboard – the on-campus food pantry – at day's end. (Photo by Kyle A. Smith, executive director of college relations and the Penn College Foundation)