Student’s Trip to Penn State of York for YCAL Program

Apollo Brown, Reporter

On March 8, 26 students went on a trip to Penn State York to take part in a day-long program sponsored by the York County Alliance for Learning (YCAL).

Students met the two chaperones, social studies teacher Sean McComas and learning support teacher Elizabeth Tuttle, in the lobby at 7:50 a.m.

After arriving on the campus, students split off to find the first of their five sessions. All the sessions were focused on potential jobs and how to make it into the field.

There were a wide variety of sessions including: Arts, Human Services, and Education & Training.

In the Arts session, speaker Amber Wiesberg, who is the Director of Education at Creative York, spoke about her growth in her art and what she does at Creative York. As the Director of Education, she creates art classes and wants to help make art more accessible for everyone.

She started making art in high school, and once she started to take art seriously and find her passion in it, she changed her major in college and got involved with the art community.

This session had a second speaker, Derek Lau, who spoke on the technical side of art careers. Lau does video production for aideM Media Solutions, where he makes advertisments for companies to help them expand.

He stated that he realized he wanted to do video production in high school with much argument from his parents. After much convincing, his parents let him enroll in film school.

This session lasted a little over 30 minutes.

Child services caseworker Wanda Muhly led The Human Services session. She works at the York County Office of Children, Youth, and Families. This agency works with all concerns involving children. Muhly stated that any abuse concerns go straight to Child Protective Service (CPS) and any other concerns like mental health issues get given to a case worker.

A case worker has 60 days to follow through with an investigation. If the concerns are true and the family is willing to cooperate, the case worker and family will make goals to achieve a better life for the child.

If the concerns are true and the family won’t cooperate, the child may be removed from the home and placed with a trusted family member or friend until it is deemed safe and the family decides to work with the case worker.

If removal is necessary and there are not close family or friends, the child will be placed into the foster care system. Any children placed into the foster care system, meet with the court every three months with their family to decide if the child can be placed back in the home.

If the court decides that the child would not be safe, the child will be put up for adoption to give them a sense of permanency that’s not in the foster care system. The safety of the child is the most important thing to a caseworker.

Mulhy ended the session by saying that as of now, there is no maximum number of cases that any one caseworker can have. She also stated that there are designated working hours, usually 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., but a caseworker may be on call 24/7.

In the Education & Training session, speakers Dr. Joshua DeSantis and Kate Diorio spoke about the ways a teacher has been trained have changed over the past century.

DeSantis stated that when he was training to be a teacher, the technology was very different. He mentioned how they would hand crank the printers and how they used a very dangerous chemical to make copies.

He had many other examples of “older” technology that teachers had to use. This was the main topic of the session; he used these outdated technology examples to show how teachers are always being asked to adopt new technology and new ways to teach with it.

Diorio mentioned how the pay has changed in her school. When she started teaching, her starting salary was $33,200. For current starting teachers, that amount is typically $50,000.

The students’ fourth session was Employability Skills. This session had three speakers and was a question and answer (Q&A) panel.

The first speaker was Demietra Middleton, she works in the only manufacturing plant for Harley Davison in the US. The next speaker was Lisa Linderman, who is a hiring manager at Chick-Fil-A. The third speaker was Eric Menzer, who is the President of the York Revolutions baseball team.

The first question was about what soft skills they are looking for in a potential employee. Both Middleton and Linderman said having good teamwork and communication skills. Middleton also said that Harely Davison looks for creativity.

Menzer stated that he looks for people with a strong sense of optimism and perseverance. He wants employees that can work to create something they believe will help the Revolutions team and the community’s experience at the stadium.

When asked about experience, they had varying answers. Middleton stated that experience really depends on what position the interviewee wants and that can range from a high school diploma to a Masters Degree.

Linderman stated that there is no experience required; however, it’s appreciated to have customer service skills. Menzer said he looks for “Whatever you’ve got;” to which he followed up with the fact that his company can teach an employee just about any job the company hires them for.

Finally, they were asked to give the students some advice on finding a job or their passion.

Middleton told them to explore their options and to not confine themselves to a box and step out of their comfort zones. On a similar note, Linderman said to find what you enjoy doing and don’t be afraid to explore their options. Finally, Menzer told them to find a job that forces them to work with other people and customers.

The final session was a college fair; some colleges in attendance were: York College, Central Penn College, Universal Technical Institute (UTI), and the US Army. The students had the opportunity to talk to each person at the tables and gather information on the colleges and majors they have or what jobs the military offers.