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Smart Grant benefits health care program at Penn College

Pennsylvania Smart Grant from the state’s Department of Labor and Industry of almost $650,000 for apprenticeship training, Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, college president, told the college’s Board of Trustees at their recent meeting.

“Almost $500,000 of this goes to health care and in particular of note, this is the patient care technician that goes with UPMC,” she said.

“The Patient Care Technician apprenticeship program is designed to upskill entry level healthcare workers to support nurses, doctors, and other medical staff in caring for patients. The apprenticeship is being built in partnership with UPMC and the technicians will be UPMC employees as they go through the program,” according to information from the college.

The college also offers an EMT pre-apprenticeship program which involves collaboration with UPMC and Evangelical Community Hospital, who will very likely employ completers of this program.

Apprenticeships are comprehensive training programs combining on-the-job and related technical instruction and train persons employed in a given occupation. Pre-apprenticeships provide foundational training for individuals to prepare them for a career pathway including further education and/or entry into an apprenticeship program, the information from the college noted.

“We expect this grant to impact 288 individuals,” Gilmour told the board.

Gilmour also commented on the on-campus recruitment by potential employers which she characterized as continuing to be “very strong.”

During the two career fairs in the fall and spring during the academic year, there were 383 distinct employers who attended the fairs, Gilmour noted.

“In addition we have employer recruitment days…for example in electronics. We have pop-up recruiting which has been very popular and on-campus interviewing. Pop-up recruiting and the employer recruitment days were particularly popular because they’re focused,” she said.

Those recruitment efforts can be for a specific area of study.

“They come for very specific (areas) as opposed to when you’re in a career fair environment and it’s all across campus,” she said.

“Through those pop-up recruiting efforts we had 256 unique employers. All told this year so far, we have had 545 discrete companies on campus recruiting for our students which is an excellent number,” Gilmour stated.

At the other end of a student’s college journey, Gilmour noted that The college is now conducting two open houses a year for prospective students. Those are held on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays to try and make it more convenient for the students and their families to attend, Gilmour said.

“We’re looking at a show rate of around 70 to 73 percent depending on the day, which is a pretty good number,” she said. Spring graduation will be held May 13 and 14 at the Community Arts Center and it will be conducted in person, Gilmour announded.

“We have 747 students who petitioned to graduate and we expect 637 to process,” she said.

Other business conducted during the meeting included the approval of emeritus status for Dr. Dorothy M. Mathers, who has taught for 27 years at Penn College and served over 30 overall at the college. Mathers has been teaching nursing full-time at Penn College since 1994.

To be eligible for emeritus status a faculty nominee must be honorably retired in good standing and have served the college for at least ten years. They must demonstrate a record of distinguished service to students, their department, their academic school and /or the college, according to information from the college.

Noting that the college works closely with industry in determining where to adapt within programs of study, Dr. Michael J, Reed, vice president for academic affairs/provost announced new majors at the college.

They include: a stand-alone master’s degree in the Physician Assistant studies; a Bachelor of Arts Architecture degree; and a Bachelor of Biomedical sciences to help with the students going into the masters of Physician Assistant.

Reed noted that the college has terminated its surveying technology degree, which means that they will no longer accept students into the program. Students will still be able to cover that in the civil engineering program rather than as a stand-alone program.

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