Career fairs attract record number of employers

Nationally, employment projections are encouraging for the class of 2015. Recent career fairs at Pennsylvania College of Technology reflected that positive reality.

Approximately 210 employers offering more than 2,400 jobs and internships participated in the spring career fairs at the college’s main campus and Lumley Aviation Center.

The number of employers, including several Fortune 500 companies, was an all-time high, according to Erin S. Shultz, coordinator of career development.

“It was so large we outgrew our capacity and had a waiting list for employers hoping to attend,” Shultz said. “That is a good problem to have! Technical education and hands-on training are in demand, and our students and alumni are highly recruited.”

Longtime career fair participants agreed.

Adam J. Yoder, an account manager at Honeywell Building Solutions, graduated from Penn College in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in building automation technology. He attended eight career fairs as a student and has represented Honeywell at the past five events.

“It’s bigger and busier than it’s ever been,” Yoder said from the crowded floor of the college’s Bardo Gymnasium, which hosted the majority of employers. “The attendance shows how in-demand these students are and how prepared they are.”

Honeywell is targeting building automation, information technology and electronics students for 70 openings in its east region, according to Yoder.

David Rellinger has represented Schneider Electric at the career fair for the past six years.

The general manager for his company’s New York-New Jersey office said this year’s fair “by far” was the most crowded as he recruited information technology and electrical technology students.

“We have 20 openings just in the tri-state area. From a national standpoint, we likely have over 100 openings,” he said.

A survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers revealed that employers anticipate hiring 8.3 percent more new college grads from the class of 2015 than they did from the class of 2014. Graduates in engineering, computer and information sciences, business and math and science disciplines are projected to be most in demand.

“The list of our majors that are in demand is too long for me to mention every single one, but ones that come immediately to mind include building automation, civil engineering, construction management, HVAC design technology, residential construction technology and management, nursing, electronics and computer engineering technology, engineering design technology, electrical, electromechanical, manufacturing, plastics, and welding,” Shultz said. “It’s not uncommon for our students to have jobs lined up long before graduation. That was true even during the economic downturn a few years ago.”

Employers said Penn College students are consistently in demand because of their hands-on, technical experience, coupled with theory-based instruction.

“The best thing by far is their relevant coursework and experience in the field. We hire for building automation, and you have a program here specifically designed for that,” Rellinger said. “The Penn College students have a good technical understanding of what we do, how we do it, why it’s done,” Yoder said. “Compared to students from other programs, Penn College students can hit the ground running. They are productive very quickly.”

Like Yoder, Terrence A. Heim values Penn College as an alumnus and employer. He graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in aviation maintenance technology and returned to the college representing Agape Avionics.

“One of the things that Penn College thrives at is training students for their field. The people who come out of here have the skills and knowledge for what we need as a business,” he said.

Nearly 1,200 students attended the spring career fairs, according to Shultz. She said she is hoping for a similar turnout by both students and employers for the next ones scheduled for October.