Pa. treasurer tours Penn College, touts state’s tuition plans
Pennsylvania College of Technology has earned a reputation for training students for some of the high-skilled jobs needed in industry.
On Thursday, state Treasurer Stacy Garrity got a close-up look at some of the programs that help prepare students.
“It’s really about the end goal,” Michael Reed, vice president for Academic Affairs & Provost, told Garrity during a tour of the school.
Reed, soon to take over as college president with the retirement of Davie Jane Gilmour, said the school has a 96% job placement rate for graduates
About 4,000 students are enrolled in the school’s approximately 100 programs, he said.
The tour included stops at the centers for Student & Administrative Services, Veterans & Military Resource, Carl Building Technologies, Electrical Technologies, Lycoming Engines Metal Trades and the Collision Repair and Automotive Restoration area.
Garrity, on the tour to promote the PA 529 College and Career Savings Program, acknowledged the wide range of programs readying students for the workforce.
“Treasury’s PA 529 plans are the perfect tool to help families save and pay for education, including the popular nursing, welding, and information technology programs here at Penn College,” she said.
PA 529 accounts are used to help families save for future educational expenses.
The Treasury offers two plans: the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan, which allows families to save on tuition rate, and the Morningstar Silver Rated PA 529 Investment Plan offering investment options, according to state officials.
Reed told Garrity that 60% of the school’s programs are geared toward engineering and technology.
Garrity noted that many industries are so eager to hire people for jobs at a time when workers are in great demand by industries.
As a result, many people may choose to go right into the workforce after high school rather than opt for higher education.
State Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township, said for many people a college education is just too
He added that there is still a benefit, to be sure, for attending college.
Peter Kruppenbacher, Building Construction Technology co-department head, said a college education cannot be dismissed.
“You have to think long-term,” he said. “Companies tell us our students move up much faster in their industries.”
Reed said the college has the framework in place for so many programs which can be tweaked and altered to meet the needs of employers.
“We are built to be nimble,” he said. “We can adapt things on a routine basis.”
He also noted the apprenticeships offered through partnerships between the college and industry.
Stacey Hampton, assistant dean of Industrial & Computer Technologies, said there is a waiting list for students looking to enroll in the school’s electrical technologies programs.
Reed noted that Penn College has the potential to expand its student body to about 7,500.
And that could happen, Yaw said, without significantly altering the physical landscape of the campus.