Recruiting the Regional Workforce's Next Generation
Thanks to PASSHE program, others, it won't be so hard to find good help these days
As most millennials are aware, graduating college into a Great Recession is both difficult and scary, as neither mounting student loan debts or living expenses take pity on your lack (or absence) of a stable income. Gen-Z will be experiencing a similar conundrum in the coming months (and possibly years), as their adult job searches will be conducted under the shadow of COVID-19 uncertainty.
Within that dark cloud, however, will be numerous regional employers flashing signals for help. The challenge will be helping area recruiters and area job seekers see one another through the fog. The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) is hoping to clear things up for both parties with its PASSHE-West Virtual Recruitment Campaign, a collaboration between the career centers at Western Pennsylvania's Edinboro, Slippery Rock, Clarion, California, and Indiana universities.
"Immediately after the move to transition courses online for the remainder of the spring semester (and now through the summer), we knew we had to rethink our strategies, and work together to ensure a smooth transition for our students and employer partners," said Monica Clem, executive director of Career Development and Experiential Learning at Edinboro.
The PASSHE-West Virtual Recruitment Campaign is utilizing Zoom and other campus technologies (such as the Handshake platform) to conduct virtual recruitment events, with the goal of connecting nearly 1,000 Western Pa. employers to a pool of 30,000 job candidates. More than fifty employers and graduate programs have registered for the pilot to date. PASSHE's Central and Eastern universities are highly intrigued and heavily invested in its progress, and will look forward to rollouts in their regions soon, creating a coordinated, statewide effort to keep young talent in the commonwealth.
Students, such as Edinboro senior – middle and secondary education major – Alexis Schricker, have also been encouraged. "Knowing that the System's career centers are working to make sure we still have opportunities to connect with employers and learn about various job opportunities has alleviated a lot of student concerns."
The first session at Edinboro is scheduled for Wednesday, Apr. 15 from 2 to 3 p.m., featuring recruitment specialists from the Academy Schools for at-risk youth
Erie's other academic institutions have also announced efforts to retain talent locally in recent weeks, for example:
- Mercyhurst's Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences is partnering with risk-management and business-intelligence solution provider Athenium Analytics and the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership to establish a Downtown Erie location, with opportunities tailored to interns and recent alumni.
- Last week, Gannon University absolved the 13 tenants of its Erie Technology Incubator from paying April rent, as it continues to nurture startups that will provide job openings for local students.
- One week prior to shutdown, Penn State Behrend's Knowledge Park hosted a conference with business leaders, community advocates, and elected officials about continuing to grow Erie's innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem. PSB's Innovation Commons idea lab and partnership with Hamot Magee Womens Research Institute promise to put young minds to work long after the COVID-19 threat dissipates.
Although the novel coronavirus has set us up for more tough times ahead, the collaborative efforts of local businesses, universities, government, and community can set us up for a strong recovery.
Matt Swanseger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org