On March 23, 2022, hundreds of students across Mercer County, Pennsylvania explored their interests and discovered career and training programs during a high impact virtual Edge Factor event! West Central Job Partnership in collaboration with the Mercer County Career Center, Penn-Northwest Development Corporation, through Business Education Partnership funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry partnered with Edge Factor to provide an engaging experience for students to discover career pathways and prepare for future career success.
The goal of this event was to open students’ eyes to rewarding career pathways, help them learn about local education, apprenticeships, training and career opportunities in their community. “We hope that our young people will see the variety of businesses and careers available right in their own backyard,” said Dawn Gregory, Youth Career Coordinator at West Central Job Partnership.
Mercer County Business & Industry Career Fair
The Mercer County Business & Industry Career Fair virtual event included a 2 hour LIVE Exhibitor Hall with over a dozen sessions hosted by industry and educational leaders! These sessions opened the door for students to connect with local business leaders and post-secondary institutions to dig deeper and learn more about the careers and training programs they offer.
The live exhibitors included guest speakers from Berner Air Curtains, HHSDR Architects Engineers, Hope Center for Arts & Technology, Inc., Joy Cone, Pennsylvania State Police, Mercer County Community Federal Credit Union, Northwest Industrial Resource Center, Penn State University, Thompson Fabricating, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Western Central Pennsylvania Electricians Training Center, and Youngstown State UnIversity.
Educators and students were invited to watch a pre-recorded Keynote Presentation by Edge Factor’s President Jeremy Bout, where attendees were challenged to learn more about the industries, companies, careers, technology, and innovation happening behind closed doors in their community.
Packed with Edge Factor media, this event focused on five industry sectors within the skilled trades, specifically aimed to inspire students to explore careers in diverse industries. Each Edge Factor playlist included industry and career exploration videos as well as highlighted transferable soft skills on:
- Health Sciences
- Food Service & Accommodation
- Business & Finance
The event also included bonus materials for students to watch including Virtual Workplace Experience videos, where they go behind closed doors to experience walk-and-talk tours of companies across every industry. Learners were also encouraged to discover the benefits of apprenticeships, by accessing a video from Edge Factor’s “Why Care” series. In the “Why Care about Apprenticeships” video industry experts shared insights on the benefits of becoming an apprentice and why we should care about apprenticeship opportunities.
Over 200 student from the participating high schools provided feedback on the virtual event - here are a few of our favorites:
“This event opened my eyes to many new opportunities in the workforce. I enjoyed learning more about different careers from employees who are on the job.”
“I learned there are jobs that my skills can play a role in. The presentation showed me that you don't need to know how to do every job as there are many jobs to compliment one another. As long as I focus on my skills, my job, and doing my best work, I can be successful.”
“I learned about different pathways and more about things you can and are able to do with your life, other than going to college. Also about more training and careers that are available where I live.”
“I took away from his presentation that there are many job opportunities, many that don't even exist yet and we all have the opportunity to contribute to them.”
Thank you to West Central Job Partnership, Mercer County Career Center, Penn-Northwest Development Corporation, and Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry and all of the exhibitors, schools, educators and students that participated in this event!
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