Penn College Career Fair attracts record number of employers

October 18, 2018

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. ­— Thanks to a new two-day format, a record number of employers recruited Pennsylvania College of Technology students during the school’s Fall Career Fair.

More than 300 employers — representing all economic sectors and 16 Fortune 500 companies — visited campus, offering more than 3,000 job and internship opportunities.

“We needed to expand the Career Fair because of the tremendous demand for our technically skilled students,” said Erin S. Shultz, coordinator of career development. “Despite stretching the event over two days, we still had a waiting list of nearly 90 employers. Clearly, our students and their ‘degrees that work’ are very attractive to employers.”

The college also provided industry with the opportunity to address students during the Career Fair Company Showcase. Offered on the eve of the Career Fair, the new initiative facilitated 20-minute company presentations to groups of students.

“Adding the showcase and an extra day to the Career Fair itself, without a doubt, gave more employers access to more of our students,” Shultz said.

Students on the floor of the Penn College fall 2018 Career Fair

A record number of employers and students participated in Penn College’s Fall 2018 Career Fair, held over two days for the first time because of the growing demand for the college’s highly skilled graduates.

IMAGE: Pennsylvania College of Technology

There were plenty of students to meet. A record 2,739 attended, representing the scope of the college’s 100-plus bachelor, associate and certificate programs.

The majority of students were targeting internships, which they hope will lead to full-time employment. According to the 2018 Internship & Co-op Report, compiled by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the conversion rate from intern to full-time employee is 45.6 percent.

Penn College alumnus Johnathan Capps is part of that 45.6 percent. An internship in the summer of 2017 led to his current position as an automation engineer at Packaging Progressions Inc.

And he has the Career Fair to thank.

“I used the Career Fair to not only obtain an internship but also my full-time position. It was a great way to meet companies and secure interviews,” said Capps, who earned an associate degree in mechatronics engineering technology and a bachelor’s degree in applied technology studies.

As a representative of Packaging Progressions Inc. — which designs and manufactures sanitary, washdown-duty packaging and processing equipment for the food industry — Capps returned to the college looking for students to follow his path.

“The prospects have been fantastic,” he said. “Our folders are full of resumes.”

So was the folder of Chase C. Forry, of Mifflin. However, all of the resumes in his folder belonged to the sophomore majoring in residential construction technology and management: building construction technology concentration.

“This is a phenomenal opportunity,” he said. “Clearly, Penn College gets a lot of good companies to come in here. It’s great for networking and marketing yourself.”

A couple short visits to booths resulted in invitations to apply for summer internships.

“A few companies, not even on my list to visit, pulled me aside and wanted to talk with me. They are interested in my major,” Forry said.

Freshman construction management student Nicholas S. Greco, of Aston, secured three interviews for internships.

“I’m trying to get know about the companies and trying to get experience,” he said. “I’m optimistic I will get an offer.”

So was Ashly M. Gagliardi, of Belle Vernon. After earning a bachelor’s degree in safety management, Gagliardi returned to school and is in her second year of studying civil engineering technology.

“I’ve been to a lot of career fairs at other colleges, and this is the biggest one that I’ve been to and the best organized,” she said after meeting with four employers. “I already have an interview set up for an internship, and I have four more booths to go.”

“Our students are poised to take advantage of these opportunities because of the unique, hands-on experience they receive at the college,” Shultz said. “Students majoring in construction management, residential construction technology and management, plastics, manufacturing, welding, heavy construction equipment, and diesel technology seemed to be particularly in demand, but there was interest in all of our students.”

The diversity of majors is what brought the National Security Agency to the Career Fair, according to Ecton English, facilities technical director for the NSA, which focuses on signals intelligence and information assurance for the intelligence community.

“We are interested in a variety of majors, everything from building automation to hospitality,” he said. “Our facility is like a small city, and just like for a city, you need infrastructure. We cover the whole gamut.”

Asked if he obtained quality prospects, English provided a succinct reply: “Absolutely!”

Mike Downs, a training specialist for SEKISUI SPI, a worldwide leader in thermoplastics, reported a similar result in recruiting plastics students, praising their knowledge and work ethic.

“We have a real close relationship with Penn College and their plastics program, so we try to get students fresh out of college to work with us because we know they are top of the class.”

“It’s heartening to hear how impressed employers are with our students and that the students are truly taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity to enhance their career prospects,” Shultz said. “It’s no wonder Penn College has a 95-percent graduate placement rate.”

The college will hold its next Career Fair in March 2019.

Penn College is a national leader in applied technology education. Visit www.pct.edu, email admissions@pct.edu or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

Last Updated October 18, 2018