Administrators at Penn State DuBois, in recent months, have worked to grow opportunities offered to students through career services, an area that helps to better prepare students to enter the workforce after graduation. To assist the campus in this effort, GKN Sinter Metals has sponsored a Career Services Center on campus, providing funding for these important needs.
"We break down career services in three phrases," explained Rebecca Pennington, director of student affairs at Penn State DuBois. She explained that she and other professionals who work with students in the career services area pull students in as early as possible. "The exploration phase includes identifying majors that are a match for the student and a good fit for careers. Then, there is the skill development phase, where we work on things like résumé and cover letter writing, and interview tactics. Finally, there's the job search phase, where we help students search for internships and jobs that fit their skills, education and interests."
Pennington said the things that students learn through career services can be the extra skills they need to turn their education into success. "It's all to help them find a job," she said. "You can be the smartest person in your class, but if you don't have these skills, and can't write a résumé or interview well, you're going to have a harder time finding employment."
Additionally, Pennington said a new career counselor will soon be hired to work with students in the Career Services Center, which is part of the Student Affairs Office and will work closely with the Office of Student Life.
Jordan Eisman, a student from Brockway who will graduate this spring with a degree in business marketing and management, has taken advantage of career services during much of her time as a student. She is currently involved in the PAWS Program, or Partnering Academics and Workplace Learning for Success, and completing an internship at Timberland Federal Credit Union. PAWS pairs a student with an employer in their field. They then have the opportunity to work in a paid internship for up to three years of their time at the campus. If granted the internship, they'll intern with a company for 10 to 15 hours per week during the semester, and as much as 40 hours per week in the summer. The students also take part in workshops, seminars and many professional development events to sharpen their skill set and add to their overall experience.
"This helps me get an idea of what the businesses are like in the area," Eisman said. "I didn't know some of them were here, or what they had to offer until I came here."
Eisman said the instruction she has received on preparing her résumé and cover letters has been a great help, as well. She said, "I didn't realize I could improve my résumé as much as I could until we did it here."
Representatives from GKN recently visited the campus to see the career services area and a new sign that denotes the company's sponsorship. They also toured the campus engineering facilities, where many students train to work in fields like sinter metals, some even going to work at GKN. Dave Brennan, the human resources director for GKN said his company believes in offering services like this to students, which is why they chose to sponsor the center.
"I want to thank you for what you do for our area," Brennan told Chancellor Melanie Hatch and other campus professionals during his tour. "We're in a rural area, and it can be difficult to find employees with the technical education that we need. You provide that here and help them prepare to go to work. However, this area of careers services, we think, is a place that can touch the lives of all students."