Career paths are the subject of a roundtable at Penn College | News, Sports, Jobs
Industry leaders and public servants who participated in a roundtable Thursday discussed ways to help students choose careers in manufacturing, health care and energy.
Attendees included Matt Fisher, Director of Workforce Development for the Williamsport Area School District, who stressed the need to develop links between industry and education.
This includes involving parents in their career choices, he noted.
“We are challenged to push children out of buildings and see workplaces,” he said.
After all, many students simply don’t know what’s out there.
“Connectivity is important” he said.
Shannon Munro, vice president of workforce development, Pennsylvania College of Technology, emphasized the need for students to track work and talk to potential employers.
Steven P. Johnson, president of UPMC in North Central Pa., said the key to finding a career is to gain experience first.
“As employers, we need to work harder to involve children in our organisations,” he said. “We cannot afford to be passive.”
Shannon Massey, senior vice president and general manager of Lycoming Engines, noted that there are many opportunities for people at companies like hers.
And, many industries offer tuition reimbursement allowing an employee to learn while working.
Joe McGinn, vice president of public affairs, Energy Transfer, said a young employee may very well start working in one career field and end up in another at a company.
“You never know what happens after you graduate” he said.
Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce President Jason Fink noted that today’s workforce simply offers multiple choices and many people are looking to change jobs multiple times.
“It’s not a bad thing to accept several different jobs”, he said.
State Sen. Gene Yaw of R-Loyalsock Township said it’s important people have a background of experience, not necessarily in a particular career field.
“The jobs you have are important” he said.
His own career path, he noted, was rather circuitous, involving college, the military, and an unexpected decision to go to law school.
Initially, he thought he wanted to be an engineer.
“I was good at math” he explained.
Munro said pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships are beneficial for people exploring careers.
Johnson noted that health care has been going through a tough time during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with keeping nurses in the workplace.
Part of the nursing shortage is due to aging nurses reaching retirement age, but also employee burnout
Johnson said retaining employees depends on their support in the workplace.
“We must listen to them” he said. “Keep them engaged. Accompany them on a daily basis. »
Massey agreed that it’s important to listen to the needs of employees.
Yaw said technology education needs to be better funded.