More than 130 employers filled the gym at Thaddeus Stevens College in Lancaster, all in the hopes of attracting a small pool of about 300 highly trained, soon-to-be graduates.
“Right now, what’s happening is that we don’t have enough students graduating to fill the jobs that are out there,” said Laurie Grove, Director of Career Services at Thaddeus Stevens.
Many of these employers are looking for specific skills sets, from graphic design to machinery.
“We do a lot of wood working, a lot of welding at Atomic for constructing the things we build,” said Dan LaFauci, Human Resources Manager at Lititz-based Atomic Design. “So students who are focused on that here are certainly people we want to talk to.”
Ninety-two percent of Stevens graduates have a job in their field after graduation, or continue their education at a four-year college.
Right now, the hottest fields include machining, electronic engineering, HVAC systems and electrical, which is good news for first-year electrical student Jared Good.
“These trades are where the jobs are,” Good said. “There’s ton of people who go to four-year-schools, they’re in there, they get into a lot of debt and they can’t get a job.”
Graduates of the electrical program are so in demand right now that Thaddeus Stevens is doubling enrollment in the program next school year.
Grove said the boom in these hands-on jobs has to do with a number of reasons, including a lot of manufacturing coming back to the U.S.
“The other thing is, the aging workforce, the Baby Boomers,” she said. “There are so many that are ready to go and there’s not enough skilled individuals, those who actually have the traits, the skill traits to come in and take their place.”