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