via PCToday [link]
Employers plan to hire 16.6 percent more graduates from the class of 2019 than they did from the previous year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The recent Pennsylvania College of Technology Career Fair reflected that trend.
The college expanded its Career Fair to a two-day, two-location event in order to accommodate the surge of employers recruiting “tomorrow makers” from the school’s 100-plus diverse majors. More than 450 employers – including 29 Fortune 500 companies – networked with students in the college’s Field House and Bardo Gymnasium, offering 5,000-plus jobs and internships.
“Expanding the Career Fair was essential to meet the needs of employers,” said Erin S. Shultz, coordinator of career development. “Every year it seems the demand for our students increases because of the tremendous value of their applied technology education. Our graduates are real-world ready.”
Aaron Holdren knows that firsthand. He boasts two degrees from Penn College – a bachelor’s in manufacturing engineering technology and an associate in toolmaking technology – and returned to campus recruiting for his family’s business: Holdren Precision Machining in Ulster.
“I went through the majors here and know it’s a great place. You get book learning, but you also get hands-on. The hands-on learning here is about as good as you’re going to get,” he said. “We currently have 20 employees, and we are looking to double that during the next five years. I’m trying to get some young blood, so to speak.”
Robert Welton, director of human resources for the Plastek Group, has used Penn College to inject youth into the Erie-based custom plastics manufacturer for several years.
“We’ve had great success with Penn College graduates,” he said. “The graduates are very polished. The plastics program is very rigorous, so we know when we hire them that they have what it takes. We are backfilling with new engineers from Penn College.”
Newport News Shipbuilding, the nation’s sole designer, builder and refueler of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, is trying to “backfill the next generation of shipbuilders” with graduates from a variety of skill sets, according to recruiter Anne Lewis.
“We only go to a handful of schools in Pennsylvania to recruit, and Penn College is always top on our list,” she said. “There is a good pipeline of candidates here.”
The total Career Fair pipeline consisted of approximately 1,400 students. No matter their major, the students appreciated the opportunity to build rapport with potential employers.
Shannon R. Stevens, a dental hygiene student from Williamsport, expressed gratitude for meeting with representatives from Capitol Dental Care, of Harrisburg.
“I would have never known they are planning to expand into Williamsport without the Career Fair,” she said. “This puts them right here where I can talk to them and figure out what they are looking for.”
Wyatt C. Case, an on-site power generation student from Mansfield, and Carl L. Dinger, an electrical technology major from Columbia Cross Roads, have experienced the “real world,” thanks to summer internships secured at past Career Fairs. Both said they have full-time job offers from the companies they interned with, and they were using the latest Career Fair to explore all options.
“I spoke to four employers yesterday and plan to hit three of four more booths today,” Case said. “I’ve left my resume in quite a few places. The Career Fair is really nice.”
“I would have never had my full-time job opportunity without the Career Fair,” Dinger added. “That’s basically what it comes down to.”
NACE’s 2018 Internship & Co-op Report found that the average conversion rate from intern to full-time hire was 45.6 percent.
Senior industrial design majors Nicole Bamonte, of Williamsport, and Abigail M. Meredick, of Danville, don’t have full-time job offers but were confident the Career Fair would enhance their employment possibilities.
“I visited six to eight booths yesterday and hope to do the same today,” Meredick said. “I think a decent number of companies are interested. I’m just waiting and excited to hear back from them.”
“Once we explain to employers what we can do for them as industrial design graduates, they see a need,” Bamonte said. “This is a great opportunity.”
“The Career Fair is obviously a win-win for both students and employers,” Shultz said. “Our students are primed for the workforce, and employers need our students and their skill sets. The Career Fair facilitates that vital face-to-face interaction leading to successful recruitment and job placement. It’s a key component to the college’s impressive 95 percent three-year graduate placement rate.”
The college will host its next Career Fair in the fall.