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Students in demand at Penn College Career Fair

Projections of a robust job market for the Class of 2022 were supported by employer participation at Pennsylvania College of Technology’s recent in-person Spring 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.”

A typical scene at Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Career Fairs – alumni returning to recruit future workers. Here, Nicholas D. Tartaglia (at center under the “Alumni” banner), and his colleague (in hat), Thomas M. Whitehouse, discuss Harkins Builders, Inc. opportunities with a student, while two others wait their turn. Tartaglia and Whitehouse both earned Penn College associate degrees in building construction technology and bachelor’s degrees in residential construction technology and management.
A typical scene at Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Career Fairs – alumni returning to recruit future workers. Here, Nicholas D. Tartaglia (at center under the “Alumni” banner), and his colleague (in hat), Thomas M. Whitehouse, discuss Harkins Builders, Inc. opportunities with a student, while two others wait their turn. Tartaglia and Whitehouse both earned Penn College associate degrees in building construction technology and bachelor’s degrees in residential construction technology and management.

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)

 

 

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