On December 10, 2019, Highway’s HR, marketing, & communications manager and Chris Weaver, a Penn College Heavy Construction Equipment Technology Technician (HCE Tech) Emphasis, Associate of Applied Science Degree program instructor, teamed up to host an interactive booth at the first-time J.P. McCaskey High School Career Exploration Fair in Lancaster, PA.
McCaskey eleventh- and twelfth-grade students who had not yet committed to a post-high school job or education attended the event.
Chris and Highway’s HR, marketing, & communications manager designed the booth to be interactive with a 24-inch, seven-pound adjustable wrench, a 15-pound, four-inch impact socket, a 14-pound torque wrench, and a hydraulic gear pump that the students could take apart and try to reassemble.
To attract students to the booth, Highway’s HR, marketing, & communications manager called them over and said, “Hold this,” as she unexpectedly handed them the large, heavy adjustable wrench. As the students commented on the size and weight of the wrench, Highway’s HR, marketing, & communications manager introduced them to the HCE Tech career field by explaining what HCE Techs do and how they could become one through Penn College's HCE Tech Program.
Highway’s HR, marketing & communications manager then segued the conversation to Chris, who spoke about Penn College’s HCE Tech program, its 96% placement rate, and their innovative summer camp program. This summer, students entering tenth through twelfth grade can attend a three-day overnight, immersive, hands-on Penn College pre-college program that introduces students to diesel truck and heavy equipment degree options. Students who attend the $375 program and then enroll in any Penn College degree receive a $1,000 credit on their tuition each year, up to $2,000.
Students were given the opportunity to handle the tools and dissemble the hydraulic gear pump. Michael, a McCaskey student, enthusiastically took the gear pump apart and methodically put it back together after a bit of trial-and-error and coaching from Chris. Michael said that it was like putting a puzzle together. He was so impressed by his experience that he later brought his friend, Luis, to the booth and told him about the HCE Tech career field.
Chris and Highway’s HR, marketing, & communications manager ensured that before they left their booth, each student received information about the HCE Tech career field and Penn College.
They also provided their contact information, an offer to shadow at Highway’s Brownstown location, and information about setting up a Penn College tour.
“I wanted to partner with Chris and Penn College for this event, and other high school career fairs, because students don’t know that the heavy construction equipment technician career field exists. Highway can’t afford to wait for students to discover this field on their own, so we need to get out in front of the pipeline and get students interested so they go to Penn College, and then Highway can potentially hire them,” Highway’s HR, marketing & communications manager said.
“This was definitely a successful event compared to others that I’ve attended. The interactive booth made a huge difference in getting students to engage with us, and once they did, they were eager to hear about the HCE Tech career field and the Penn College program," said Chris. "I commend the McCaskey students for their willingness to engage with us and for their curiosity to learn more.”
Chris and Highway's HR, Marketing, & Communications Manager agreed that "it was especially satisfying to introduce the HCE Tech career field to students at McCaskey. This is a diverse urban population where, according to the school profile, 89.27% of the students receive free or reduced lunches. Introducing these students to the HCE Tech career field could be life-changing for them."
Chris and Highway’s HR, marketing, & communications manager will pair up again on February 12, 2020, for a career fair at Weatherly High School, Weatherly, PA.