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Penn College Students in Demand at Career Fair

According to a National Association of Colleges and Employers survey, employers anticipate hiring 4 percent more graduates from the Class of 2018 than last year. If the recent Career Fair at Pennsylvania College of Technology is an accurate gauge, that estimate is conservative.

Nearly 240 employers – including 15 Fortune 500 companies – filled two campus locations to capacity, offering more than 2,730 jobs and internships. Booth space sold out in two weeks, leaving 70-plus employers on a wait list.

“In my 18 years at Penn College, there has always been tremendous demand for our technically skilled students. Our 96 percent graduate placement rate clearly indicates that Penn College students possess the skills that employers want,” said Erin S. Shultz, coordinator of career development. “But that demand has never been higher. We don’t have enough students to meet the growing needs of employers.”

Plastics and polymer engineering technology student Olivia C. Ferki (second from left), of Richboro, Bucks County, discusses her potential future during a visit to the Lane Enterprises Inc. booth at Penn College’s Spring 2018 Career Fair, which attracted nearly 240 employers offering more than 2,700 jobs and internships.
Plastics and polymer engineering technology student Olivia C. Ferki (second from left), of Richboro, Bucks County, discusses her potential future during a visit to the Lane Enterprises Inc. booth at Penn College’s Spring 2018 Career Fair, which attracted nearly 240 employers offering more than 2,700 jobs and internships.

Shultz identified several majors that generated the most interest: plastics, manufacturing, welding, building automation, diesel technology, heavy equipment, nursing, construction management and building construction.

Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., one of the nation’s largest construction management and general contracting firms, targeted students from the college’s construction management program and various building construction majors.

“We’re looking to hire as many as we can,” said Jesse Beam, vice president. “We’ve had good results from the students we get from here. We like the diversity of degrees that are offered. Penn College students have a good hands-on background. At other schools, the education may be more theoretical.”

A hands-on skill set rooted in technology also attracted East Penn Manufacturing Co. Inc. The world’s largest single-site battery manufacturing company has hired many Penn College graduates with degrees in plastics and electromechanical majors.

“We are very happy with the students we hire from Penn College,” said Valerie Rutherford, employment specialist. “The students are always well-prepared here at this college. We’ve collected at least 30 resumes today. We are also interested in talking to freshmen and sophomores. Internships are always a possibility.”

Of the 1,305 students who attended the Career Fair, Shultz estimated that more than half were underclassmen networking and seeking internships. By this point in the semester, many seniors in technology-focused majors have secured full-time, postgraduate employment.

“I know some students, especially in construction management, signed contracts prior to Thanksgiving,” she said.

Derick S. Gower, a sophomore construction management major from Sunbury, hopes that will be his reality in a few years.

“I’m here to network,” Gower said, after visiting nine company booths. “Networking is the most important thing to do. I’m planting the seeds for an internship next year.”

So was freshman Cassie N. Shook, of Westport, one of several plastics and polymer engineering technology students interacting with potential employers.

“Our professors cancel classes during the Career Fair and consider it a plastics professional day,” she said. “They want us to talk to as many people as possible, so we can get our names out there for internships and job openings.”

“It’s never too early,” said freshman Bobby W. Kemper, an engineering CAD technology major from Sharon Hill. “I’ve spoken to at least three (potential employers). They seemed impressed with what we are doing at this school.”

Hugh Elliott, chemical maintenance foreman at Global Tungsten & Powders Corp., was among those impressed. He recruited students from a variety of majors for the manufacturer of tungsten and molybdenum powders and products.

“Most of the students who have stopped by were very polished,” he said. “There’s no doubt that we have strong candidates. We have good prospects who are graduating this year, and we have a series of very good prospects for 2019 as well. We look a year ahead.”

So does Shultz.

“Planning has already begun for our October Career Fair,” she said. “Having so many employers recruiting our students and their degrees that work is a great situation. We hope to be able to accommodate even more employers come fall.”

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 Cindy Davis Meixel, writer/photo editor

 

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