Kids and adults check out their options in Greencastle

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Lydia Crist visited with Brittany Higgins, assistant director of admissions for Bridgewater College. Lydia stopped at the tables of all of the post-secondary education institutions.

The third annual College and Career Fair, sponsored by Community Learning Center in Greencastle, became a field trip destination for Greencastle-Antrim Middle School eighth graders. They, along with the general public, had the opportunity to meet representatives from higher education, career professionals, and companies recruiting employees. The interactive fair was held at Blue Heron Events Jan. 23.

Barbara Sanders, education specialist from Gettysburg National Military Park, enjoyed chatting with the youngsters.

“I had all these kids who came to the park on their fifth-grade field trip,” she said. “They are always well-behaved.”

She was telling them the 400 national parks could use employees with all kinds of skill-sets. She wanted the students to think about interning at Gettysburg when they were in college. She considered the event well organized.

Lori Viar, communications officer for Association for Nontraditional Students in Higher Education, shared information with adults wanting to return to school.

“We’ve had a few come through looking at going back to college. We try to help them with financial resources,” she said.

Some companies used the day to seek a workforce, now or in the future.

Manitowoc human resources representative Allison Harding said the Shady Grove company did not have any openings now, but they still encouraged people to apply online.

Human resources director Benita Kemper needed more employees for McCrea, a family-owned heating and cooling services company operating in three states.

“We have plenty of work. We’re growing. I hope to lean some of these kids toward this trade,” she said.

At a job fair the previous week, she had hired two people.

The middle school staff had expectations for the student experience.

Science teacher Ed Holland said, “I hope they get some idea on their career path, and what it will take to get there.”

Guidance counselor Fred Yelton said the event was part of meeting Pennsylvania standards, and he wanted to broaden the horizons of students as they thought about their futures.

“It is one thing for us to tell them, it is another for them to speak to a business,” he said. “Maybe they will see something they never saw as an option before. That’s our job - to educate them and give them as many options as possible.”

Jennifer Toms coordinated the event, heading a committee of 10 from CLC. The fair had grown in its offerings, and fit the purpose of the center, which gives tutoring assistance to homeschool and cyberschool students, as well as adult learners.

“The Community Learning Center is all about giving hope and direction,” she said.