Inspiring Today’s Youth for Tomorrow’s Careers

This year the Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC), through its Industry Partnerships, impacted the careers of 3,648 students.

Partnerships involved include: AgConnect, Health Care Connect, Innovative Technology Action Group (ITAG), the Manufacturing Alliance of Chester and Delaware Counties (MACC/DC), and the Smart Energy Initiative (SEI).

Helping students learn about and aspire to careers in tomorrow’s prominent fields is an integral and important aspect of nurturing and maintaining a talented and viable labor force.

CCEDC partners with school districts, community colleges, universities and companies, who volunteered more than 2,000 hours of their time, to deliver employer-led student outreach for growing the “pipeline” of talented graduates in order to keep intellectual talent employed here in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Students from all over the region were impacted through various activities such as Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology (GETT), Techies Day, What’s So Cool About Manufacturing, career exploration showcases, and community career days.

GETT

Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology (GETT) is an annual day-long event in the spring for girls in grades 5-10 and their parents to learn about career opportunities in a broad scope of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)-related industries. The day is filled with exciting, enlightening, experiential workshops led by successful women in STEM.

The 16th Annual GETT event was held on March 12, 2016 at West Chester East High School with 622 elementary, middle, and high school students in attendance in addition to 175 parents and educators.

The event featured a tradeshow-style expo with 56 exhibitors conducting hands-on activities as well as interactive break-out sessions. Some of the sessions this year included: Building Roller Coasters, Extracting DNA from Strawberries, Taking Apart Computers, Building Suspension Bridges, plus numerous others.

Techies Day

Techies Day is an annual event organized by the Innovative Technology Action Group (ITAG) to provide a vehicle for high school students in Southeastern Pennsylvania to learn about technology careers.

Students spend a half-day, “on-site” at area employers, learning about their dynamic organizations, the technology that drives those organizations, and the people that drive the technology.

Techies Day held its 17th annual event on October 21, 2015 providing more than 265 students from 14 schools and their teachers the opportunity to learn about technology careers and opportunities at employers in Chester County and the surrounding region.

The 2015 Participating Companies included: Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI), ANRO, Bentley Systems, BiZtract, Evolve IP, InternU, Silicon Power, Southco, Unisys, and Vanguard.

What’s So Cool About Manufacturing

The What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? student video contest was initially designed by the Dream It Do It PA organization and carried out in Chester County by the Manufacturing Alliance of Chester and Delaware Counties (MACC/DC).

Two-minute videos were created with GoPro Camera kits by seven Chester County high school groups, 32 students in total, at seven local manufacturing facilities. The videos captured what’s “so cool” about a company’s products, workforce, and technology.

The contest generated awareness of what an advanced manufacturing career may look like to our younger tech-savvy generation and helps dispel the outdated image of the industry.

The first annual Chester County video contest culminated in an awards ceremony which was held at Penn State Great Valley on April 6, 2016.

More than 125 attendees were present and four schools were recognized for their videos in the following categories: outstanding editing, outstanding videography, outstanding cool, and the viewer’s choice award which was based upon online voting.

Career Exploration Showcases

Career showcases in manufacturing, health care, smart energy, IT, and agriculture take the classroom on the road. Students have an opportunity to explore a variety of local businesses and learn first-hand about career education paths.

Participating employers show students opportunities for success in today’s high-skilled economy through work-based learning experiences.

This program year, a total of 502 students were impacted by these career exploration days held by 20 different employers. Participating employers included: Walmoore Holsteins, ST Genetics, Einstein Medical Center, Paoli Hospital, AGC, Oberthur Technologies, Aerzen, and more.

At each of the showcases, students toured the facility, participated in hands-on activities, and interacted with current employees to discover internship, volunteer opportunities, and career options.

What’s next for CCEDC’s youth programming?

Programming staff at CCEDC are hard at work planning numerous opportunities for youth to explore careers during the 2016-2017 school year.  Techies Day has been proven to be quite popular and this year is expanding to multiple dates and will take place on October 19, November 2 and December 7.

This growth will allow both more schools and companies to participate. Dates for GETT, the What’s so Cool about Manufacturing? video contest as well as numerous career exploration showcases are in the process of being confirmed so be sure to check the CCEDC calendar often.

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