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President delivers keynote remarks at statewide conference


"We must continue to seek new ways to encourage more youth – and more career-changers – to enter STEM fields of study," President Davie Jane Gilmour concludes. "Our economic future depends on it."
“We must continue to seek new ways to encourage more youth – and more career-changers – to enter STEM fields of study,” President Davie Jane Gilmour concludes. “Our economic future depends on it.”

Penn College’s president was among the keynote speakers as the two-day Pennsylvania Home Performance Conference & Trade Show kicked off Monday at The Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center in State College.

Davie Jane Gilmour talked about how the college’s time-tested strategy of hands-on education mitigates the skills gap and promotes lifelong careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

An audience of more than 425 turns out to hear a keynote address by Gilmour at Monday's opening of the Pennsylvania Home Performance Conference & Trade Show.
An audience of more than 425 turns out to hear a keynote address by Gilmour at Monday’s opening of the Pennsylvania Home Performance Conference & Trade Show.

Joined by representatives of the college’s Workforce Development department, including its renowned National Sustainable Structures Center, Gilmour noted that building performance is a niche sector in which professionals need to be knowledgeable about several trades.

“Much like a family doctor is proficient in understanding and diagnosing many health issues that affect the human body, home energy professionals must have an understanding of multiple trades in order to approach the house as a living, breathing system and effectively diagnose a home’s efficiency, comfort, health and safety,” she said. “The typical home energy professional must know about construction and carpentry, plumbing, electrical and HVAC, and needs a solid grasp of basic math, geometry, physics and reading. Problem-solving, teamwork and interpersonal communication are essential. And let’s not forget, workers must stay up-to-date on how to comply with a wide array of work specifications, policies and regulations.”

Penn College's degrees logically intersect with careers in home energy, making Gilmour's appearance before industry leaders a natural.
Penn College’s degrees logically intersect with careers in home energy, making Gilmour’s appearance before industry leaders a natural.

At Penn College, Gilmour noted, degree programs and industry training alike are developed with workforce needs and STEM-related professions in mind. “When thinking about whom to approach and where to turn for graduates, training and support, consider reaching out to us,” she told attendees. “Penn College coursework is grounded in a comprehensive, hands-on, applied technology education that empowers our graduates for success.”

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