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Penn College students in demand at Career Fair

The “tomorrow makers” of Pennsylvania College of Technology attracted 458 companies and organizations to campus for a recent two-day Fall 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.

Bryan T. Robinson (center), a 2015 Pennsylvania College of Technology plastics and polymer engineering technology graduate employed by Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials, returned to campus with co-worker Ryan A. Flexman to meet with students during the college's Fall Career Fair on Oct. 15-16. Robinson was among the many alumni recruiters at the event, which brought more than 450 employers to the Field House and Bardo Gymnasium.
Bryan T. Robinson (center), a 2015 Pennsylvania College of Technology plastics and polymer engineering technology graduate employed by Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials, returned to campus with co-worker Ryan A. Flexman to meet with students during the college’s Fall Career Fair on Oct. 15-16. Robinson was among the many alumni recruiters at the event, which brought more than 450 employers to the Field House and Bardo Gymnasium.

“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

 

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