Pennsylvania Smart Grant from the state Department of Labor and Industry of nearly $650,000 for apprenticeship training, college president Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour told the college’s board of trustees during their recent meeting.
“Nearly $500,000 of that goes to health care and specifically it’s the patient care technician that goes with UPMC,” she says.
“The Patient Care Technician apprenticeship program is designed to develop entry-level healthcare workers to help nurses, doctors and other medical staff care for patients. The apprenticeship is built in partnership with UPMC and the technicians will be UPMC employees as they go along,” according to information from the college.
The college also offers an EMT pre-apprenticeship program that involves collaboration with UPMC and the Evangelical Community Hospital, which will most likely employ graduates of this program.
Apprenticeships are comprehensive training programs combining on-the-job training and related technical training and train employed persons in a particular occupation. Pre-apprenticeships provide basic training for individuals to prepare them for a career path, including further training and/or entry into an apprenticeship program, according to college information.
“We expect this grant to impact 288 people,” Gilmour told the council.
Gilmour also commented 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, 383 separate employers attended the fairs, Gilmour noted.
“In addition, we have recruitment days for employers… for example in electronics. We have a pop-up recruitment that has been very popular and on-campus interviews. Pop-up recruitment and employer recruiting days have been particularly popular because they are targeted,” she says.
These recruiting efforts may be for a specific field of study.
“They come for very specific (areas) as opposed to when you’re in a job fair environment and it’s all on campus,” she says.
“Through these fleeting recruiting efforts, we had 256 unique employers. In total this year so far, we’ve had 545 low-key businesses on campus recruiting for our students, which is a great number,” Gilmour said.
At the other end of a student’s college journey, Gilmour noted that the college now holds two open houses a year for prospective students. These take place on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays to try to make it easier for students and their families to participate, Gilmour said.
“We’re looking at a broadcast rate of around 70-73% depending on the day, which is a pretty good number,” she says. The spring graduation will take place May 13-14 at the Community Arts Center and it will be held in person, Gilmour announced.
“We have 747 students who have applied to graduate and we expect 637 to do so,” she says.
Other business transacted during the meeting included approving emeritus status for Dr. Dorothy M. Mathers, who taught for 27 years at Penn College and served more than 30 years at the college. Mathers has taught 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, academic school, and/or college, according to college information.
Noting that the college is working closely with industry to determine where to fit in curricula, Dr. Michael J. Reed, Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost, announced new majors at the college.
They include: a stand-alone master’s degree in physician assistant studies; a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture; and a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science to help students entering the Physician Assistant Master’s degree.
Reed noted that the college has terminated its surveying technology degree, which means it will no longer accept students into the program. Students will still be able to cover this in the civil engineering program rather than a standalone program.