In late October, Johnstown, PA, area middle and high school students from eight school districts had the opportunity to take a close look into sought after, high-paying careers through Health Careers Week/Careers in Demand Week—a career exploration event organized by Goodwill Industries of the Conemaugh Valley (GICV) (Johnstown, PA), through services the agency operates at the PA CareerLink in Cambria County.
The event began as Health Careers Week in 2004, an initiative of the Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board to address critical labor shortages, and expanded in 2008 to Careers in Demand Week. Health Careers Week addresses labor shortages across many health care occupations such as nursing, medical technology, respiratory therapy, pharmacy, imaging, dental hygiene and direct care. Careers in Demand Week features the fields of advanced materials and diversified manufacturing, building and construction, information and communications, and logistics and transportation.
Students have the opportunity to learn about these careers by talking directly with business and educational staff, and tour company operations. The event included hands-on workshops, activities, tours and STEM-related exercises. Bringing six businesses into the classroom, at several schools, allowed the youth to ask questions to each business in a specific amount of time. The youth rotated every 10 minutes and then shared what they learned at the end of each session.
This year’s event participants included Congressman Keith Rothfus (R-PA 12), Cambria County Courthouse, Windber Research Institute, Saint Francis University’s Department of Energy, Penn State University, Children’s Behavioral Health, Johnstown Free Medical Clinic, Co-Gen Plant and Patton Wind Farm, Riggs Industries and WJAC-TV.
Each year, GICV/CareerLink youth services staff coordinate closely with area guidance counselors and principals to engage area students. The most recent event provided a valuable venue for 769 local students to get a firsthand look at possible careers.
Guidance counselor for Blacklick Valley Junior Senior High School Brian Gibson encourages and fully supports his students’ involvement in this career event.
“This was an excellent way to tie in Pennsylvania’s Academic Standards for Career Education and Work. The presenters were friendly, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic, which led to an invaluable learning experience for our students,” he said.