New Penn College Center for Career Design helps transform tomorrow
WILLIAMSPORT — A new Pennsylvania College of Technology facility dedicated to helping students, alumni and industry partners transform tomorrow is earning high marks today from its first group of visitors.
The Center for Career Design introduced its variety of free resources and offered one-on-one assistance to students majoring in physician assistant studies. The recent experience complemented classroom workshops presented by Career Services staff for the students’ professionalism and ethics course.
An “accommodating environment” is how Bryan M. Bilbao, of Old Forge, described the center. “One day we will be in the real world having to do interviews, having to make final edits to our resumes, talking to people in a professional manner in a professional setting. It was very cool to come over here and try to encompass those things into one,” he said.
“They were all willing to help us,” added Brooke M. Confer, of Howard. “It’s just nice being able to be in this environment that is so willing to help with our careers after Penn College.”
Located on the third floor of the Madigan Library, the center is home to College Relations, comprising Career Services, Alumni Relations, the Penn College Foundation, Corporate Relations and Donor Relations. Previously, those offices were in separate locations.
“Now that we’re all together, we’re able to work as a team,” said Shelley L. Moore, director of Career Services. “The initiative to have us all together compounds what we’re able to do for students, alumni and industry partners.”
“Merging our operations allows us to bring our students, alumni and industry partners together in ways that will benefit them in all things career-related,” said Loni N. Kline, vice president for College Relations. “All of our staff members are ready and willing to jump in and help out with any of the services.”
Staff shared three services with the physician assistant students: resume review, business card development and the Career Gear Clothes Closet, which contains donated professional clothing that students can wear for presentations and interviews.
“I think the closet actually was the coolest thing for me because there are a lot of students who can’t afford professional clothes, and they are very expensive,” Confer said.
“I didn’t know I could come here and pick out a nice pair of pants, ties,” Bilbao said. “They have everything in there!”
The business card process took students under a minute to complete after logging into the college’s network. The free cards – featuring Penn College branding – contain the individual’s contact information and major.
“I like the business card idea,” Bilbao said. “I think that is a real nice touch. It’s easy to give to someone.”
The students spent the majority of their time reviewing their resumes with experts from Career Services, which pleased their instructor, Dr. Kendra F. Boell.
“Having that well-polished cover letter, that well-developed resume goes a long way to stand out in the crowd of other applicants,” she said. “I’m so excited to collaborate with Career Services. We’ve found that they are really there to walk our students every step of the way through the path of obtaining placement, and most times, that happens even before they graduate.”
Bilbao felt like “a million bucks” after tweaking his resume.
“Whoever helped me today (Melinda D. Heckman, coordinator of career programming) was absolutely terrific,” he said. “She even went through my LinkedIn and showed me how to make it more professional.”
Staff encouraged Confer to highlight additional skills on her resume.
“I thought I would just wait until my rotations were over to do my skill set,” she explained. “They said that every single thing we do in the classroom is really beneficial to put on a resume.”
“In Career Services, we are intimately familiar with the curriculum in all the majors,” Moore said. “We are familiar with the classes they take, with the skills they build within those classes, and we’re able to help students describe those to employers.”
Other services available for both students and alumni at the center include career assessments, job searching and interview preparation.
“The center is fantastic,” Boell said. “The students have really enjoyed everyone in this department offering their various areas of expertise. I would encourage every single student on campus to take advantage of all these opportunities.”
Once the pandemic ends, the center will serve as a hub for students, alumni and industry partners to interact. The facility features interview rooms, networking event space and an open conference area.
“The center gives alumni and employers a home when they are on campus,” Kline said. “Having all the services in one place, we can more productively engage students with alumni and the companies.”
The center is open weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and many of its services are also available online.
“My hope is that as students, alumni and companies come and visit us, they will see the good we’re doing here, all the services that we’re able to provide, and they will spread the word,” Kline said. “We can serve our students, alumni and companies in profound ways.”
For more on the Center for Career Design, visit www.pct.edu/careerdesign, contact College Relations at 570-320-8020 or email email@example.com.