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Non-traditional career choices offer many opportunities

3/5/2008 —
Women in engineering, men in nursing—these are just two examples of non-traditional roles for men and women these days that are giving individuals an extra boost into careers that are in high demand. And, contrary to common belief, people can become highly-skilled, valuable employees with a two-year associate degree.

Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus is holding a special open house Wednesday, March 26, from 6-8 p.m. in the Bio-Medical building that will focus on the campus’ two-year degree programs in Business, Engineering Technology (Architectural, Building Environmental Systems, Electrical and Nano), Human Development & Family Studies, Information Science & Technology, Mining Technology, Nursing, and Science. The theme of the open house is: “Think non-traditional. Think two-year degree. Think Penn State!”

Career Services Counselor Davida Cavallo reports, “According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 2 percent of service technicians are women, as are 6 percent of firefighters, and 9 percent of mechanical or electrical engineers. When it comes to men, only 2 percent are preschool and kindergarten teachers and only 5 percent of RNs. There is a lot of opportunity for women and men in these non-traditional roles.”

Wren McKean, a transportation/construction inspector with Trumbull Corp., took the non-traditional route at Penn State Fayette. “I took Architectural Engineering Technology 2 at Penn State because I loved to draw and design things and I didn’t want to spend years and years in college before getting a good job. After my first year I got an internship with Penn DOT through Career services. I was working on the Yough bridge as an inspector and realized I found my true calling. I now work for Trumbull Corp. on the Mon Fayette Expressway Uniontown to Brownsville Project. It’s wonderful to be a part of such an important project. Being a woman in a man’s world can be a little tough to get used to but it doesn't take long, as long as you focus on your job and believe in yourself.”

Cavallo says, “Don’t limit your career options just because you think the job you want is meant for a person of a specific gender,” She adds, “Getting a non-traditional job usually means better pay and the chance to learn more skills, and in most cases only requires a two-year degree.”
Penn State Fayette Admissions counselor Apryl Kadish agrees. “With an associate degree students can start working sooner. And the advantage that students get by attending Penn State is that most of the two-year degrees we offer can channel into a four-year degree. So if a student wants or needs to continue his or her education they can accomplish it all at Penn State Fayette.”
A variety of local employers—including Allegheny Energy, Children & Youth Services, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, PJ Dick/Trumbull, S&T Bancorp—will be participating in the open house to talk about upcoming employment demand, salaries and opportunities.

Penn State faculty will be on hand to explain their associate degree programs. Penn State admissions staff will explain how and when to apply, and a $50 application fee waiver will be given to individuals who apply at this event. Penn State student aid staff also will be available explain the FAFSA process and review important deadlines.

To register for the open house call the Penn State Fayette Admissions Office at 724-430-4130.

Wren McKean
Wren McKean, a transportation/construction inspector with Trumbull Corp., on the job. (Photo courtesy of Wren McKean.)

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