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[Excerpt] Colleges Respond to Job-Market Needs

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Colleges respond to Job-Market needs

Cathy Molitoris (LNP Correspondent) – Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology has a problem, but it’s a good problem to have.  The school has more applicants than it can take, and its graduates have to sift through multiple job offers.

“Enrollment is never a problem here,” says Zoann Parker, vice president of academic affairs. “We turn away almost as many students as we accept. …And, all of our students who graduate have at least six job opportunities waiting for them when they graduate.”

Parker says the school recently held a job fair with representatives from more than 150 companies. “Each company that came in has multiple job openings,” she says. Some companies are so anxious to fill positions with qualified candidates, they will offer not just sign-on bonuses, but incentives just for filling out an application.

 “We are producing graduates who fill a need in a changing job market,” Parker says. “This is not down in the trenches, digging ditches work. These are highly technical jobs. They are STEM jobs. We were STEM before STEM was cool.”

Parker says the increased interest in attending Thaddeus Stevens, combined with the ratio of more job opportunities than students to fill those jobs, reflects a changing job market.

Post-secondary schools like Thaddeus Stevens are working hard to make sure graduates are prepared for these changes. “We are driven by industry advisory groups in all our programs,” Parker says. “Industry comes to us and we meet quarterly to look at our curriculum, to look at job skills needs, to work with our faculty. We are tweaking our curriculum to meet the needs of their industry.”

Changes at Thaddeus Stevens includes the introduction of a computer software engineering technology program, which was created after businesses in the county’s flourishing computer tech industry asked the school to design a curriculum to produce future employees.

For the full story, pick up Always Lancaster County: A Year in Review | A Look to the Future 2018 

 

           

Donor Profile: BB&T Economic Growth Fund

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Facilities Maintenance Technology Certificate Program

Thanks to a two-year, $500,000 grant from the BB&T Economic Growth Fund of the Lancaster County Community Foundation, Thaddeus Stevens College now leads Lancaster in offering short-term certificate training in Facilities Maintenance Technology. Students may elect to take one, two or all six courses in building construction and maintenance fields. Each course is designed to give students basic skills. Students who complete all courses will continue on to paid work experience as part of a capstone project, repairing and maintaining various facilities in the Lancaster area.

In making this grant, BB&T intends to spur economic development by reducing poverty through training for well-paying jobs. The facilities maintenance career field is known as a “High Priority Occupation” in Pennsylvania. That means the job pays a living wage, requires training beyond high school, and has openings that exceed the available workforce.

The first 19 students began in October 2017, having been recruited through PA CareerLink, Tec Centro, and other organizations. The hands-on instruction is held at Tec Centro, in the southeast corridor of Lancaster City. The lab has 1,800 square feet and presents an open, professional environment conducive for technical training. Thaddeus Stevens faculty teaching the courses are Timothy Draper (Carpentry), Michael Gardner (Masonry), Josephine Tyndall (Plumbing), and Michael Oxenford (Construction Electrician). Instruction in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and finishing will also be covered.

The students range in age from 19 to 50. They hail from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Iraq, Laos, Peru, Puerto Rico, and the United States. One recent immigrant is the father of three teenagers. He comes to class and then works second shift to help support his family. Several students are staying in temporary housing due to personal hardships.

Despite their differences, “students are focused and respectful,” said Dr. Tim Bianchi, Continuing Education Project Manager. “They actively participate in lessons and demonstrate an eagerness to apply this new knowledge.”

Their desire for a better life unites them.
“I truly feel this opportunity is a blessing,” said Bobby, a student in the first cohort. “I never had much growing up and felt there was no hope for my future. This program
has allowed me to dream and look forward to a positive outlook on life.”

Students know that employers want to hire people with experience and that having a certificate from Thaddeus Stevens College will give them credibility.

“This program is helping me to get a job,” said Mohammed, another student. “To have a job is to have a life.”

To learn more, visit: StevensCollege.edu/SkillUpFast

or contact Dr. Tim Bianchi: 717-299-7701 or

 

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