College's first post-COVID 'PA Build My Future' engages tomorrow's workforce
The neon T-shirts of students, chaperones and volunteers sufficiently chased away the gloom and allowed a rainy Thursday's "PA Build My Future" to flourish unimpeded.
A construction career day and industry showcase not held at Penn College since 2019, the event introduced nearly 1,000 students from more than 30 high schools and career and technical centers to the breadth of occupations available in construction and design – thanks, in turn, to scores of exhibitors in and around the Carl Building Technologies Center and other campus sites.
WBRE/WYOU’s Jazzmyn Allen and WNEP’s Chris Keating interviewed organizers and attendees for their respective newscasts, and the event also merited front-page coverage in Friday's Williamsport Sun-Gazette.
"PA Build My Future" is co-sponsored by a Homebuilding Education Leadership Program grant, with additional assistance from Construction Specialties, the Pennsylvania Builders Association, West Branch Susquehanna Builders Association and Zartman Construction Inc.
– Photos by Tom Wilson, writer/editor-PCToday;
Kimberlee R. Rusczyk, manager of social media and online marketing;
and John Moen, American Welding Society student chapter secretary
Allen interviews a Williamsport Area High School student in the college's carpentry lab.
A student from North Pocono High School talks with Keating near Zartman Construction Inc.'s crane-operating activity.
The college's Baja SAE Club displayed its vehicles – always a popular attraction – outside the Lycoming Engines Metal Trades Center.
A staff volunteer, designated by her pink shirt, greets a bus pulling into campus.
Despite blustery winds and drizzle that occasionally was more than a nuisance, sustained breaks in the weather allowed for outdoor activities to proceed as scheduled. Shreiner Tree Care (including 2019 forestry grad Michael S. Shreiner) and horticulture instructor Justin Shelinski helped facilitate tree-climbing near the Dunham Children's Learning Center.
The Construction Management Association sponsored a team-building exercise in which planning, coordination and cooperation are key. Each student grabs a rope attached to a metal crane and, with very little communication from a designated crew leader, the group must pick up blocks and stack them into a tower.
Montoursville Area High School students enjoy watching their chaperone smooth out a section of concrete. Overseeing the trowel work is Harry W. Hintz Jr., instructor of construction technology, and one of the faculty members who volunteered at the start of their Fall Break to guide prospective future students.
... that impressively rose 130 feet from the Wm. L. Robinson Concrete Contractors Inc. truck. The boom, used to accurately pump concrete from high above bridges and other large-scale construction projects, was just one of the "must-see" stops on the day's menu.
A student gives a concrete truck a purposeful whirl under the supervision of Wild Rose Inc., a ready-mix business in Tioga and Jersey Shore.
Inside the lab, visitors spin the wheel for prizes made by the ConCreate Design Club (a student chapter of the American Concrete Institute).
Trying to beat the clock – and one another – in a power-drill activity sponsored by the Pennsylvania Builders Association Endorsed Trade Program
Kevin Yokitis, alumnus and assistant professor of electrical technology/occupations, outlines career pathways with visitors to the motor controls lab.
Ellyn A. Lester, assistant dean of construction and architectural technologies, shares a proclamation from Mayor Derek Slaughter during welcoming remarks in Klump Academic Center. The city leader declared October as Careers in Construction Month in Williamsport, and singled out "PA Build My Future" for its objective "to showcase the many long-term rewarding careers in construction and related trades for thousands of high school students."
Glenn O. Hawbaker brought an excavator, tasking intrepid high schoolers to snatch baseballs from atop pylons.
A visit to the HVAC lab
The Keystone Wood Products Association's Stephanie Phillips-Taggart talks with students in a carpentry lab.
An entourage from SUN Area Technical Institute in New Berlin poses outside The Dr. Welch Workshop: A Makerspace at Penn College.
President Michael J. Reed greets the day's earliest arrivals, championing the college's role in filling industry's "dire need" of a skilled workforce.
Natalie J. Salinas, founder and chief executive officer, shares the inspiring story of Nth Consulting Group – designated as a 100% Minority Woman-Owned Business Enterprise. Salinas is talking with Kaiden M.J. Tubbs, a Williamsport Area High School senior and participant in the college's dual enrollment program.
As his classmates watch in awe and admiration, a young man is instructed by Jeffrey K. Robinson, of Linden, in remotely controlling an articulated robotic boom ...
A T-Ross Brothers Construction Inc. employee encourages a hammer-wielding visitor to the Milton firm's nail-pounding challenge.
Peter Kruppenbacher, assistant professor of building construction technology, administers a precautionary tutorial that was repeated for every group. Among his tips: Wear safety glasses and have a "healthy fear" of equipment that can cause injury. Noting the likely prevalence of cellphones among the hundreds of visitors, he also admonished not to tease (or shame on social media) classmates who decline to operate any machinery that gives them pause.
Unfazed by a rain-swept workspace, Seth J. Welshans monitors a knock-down exercise in the parking lot. Welshans, who holds two Penn College degrees, is a laboratory assistant for diesel equipment technology at the Schneebeli Earth Science Center.
Changing into their T-shirts before even crossing West Third Street, and giving a thumbs-up review to the day's promise, students from Carbon Career & Technical Institute in Jim Thorpe begin their occupational odyssey.
Leading the way to exploration
Montoursville students try to win some comfy Penn College swag.
Co-workers from The College Store and students enrolled in emergency management & homeland security staff the T-shirt table, pleasantly sending guests to their next station.
A line of potential participants approaches the Wayne Township Landfill's hands-on exhibit.
James N. Colton II, assistant professor of welding, supplies pointers to a high schooler practicing that skill virtually.
These enthusiastic members of the college's American Welding Society chapter were among the students volunteering during their respite from classes.
Cat up a tree? No worries, when it's this confident, capable feline.
Caution: Objects on screen are cooler than they appear! The Penn College mascot's face enlivens an inspection camera normally used for pipeline inspection.
Making friends on the mall
Networking with vendors, the 'cat rides a scissor lift with a T-Ross Brothers Construction Inc. rep.