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PCC Event helps people navigate college and career choices

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Wade Washington, representative with Hyster-Yale, talks to students at NextFest at Pitt Community College on May 14, 2019. (Molly Urbina/The Daily Reflector)


By Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, May 16, 2019

For many high school seniors, deciding their next steps after graduation can feel overwhelming. 

To help students better map out their plans, Pitt Community College officials held an event called NextFest at the Walter and Marie Williams building on Warren Drive near the school’s main campus.   

The event aimed to go beyond the traditional college registration and admissions process and connect students — both those about to graduate and adults returning to school — with real world employment opportunities.  

Several companies including Vidant, Thermo-Fisher Scientific, The North Carolina Department of Public Safety and Hyster-Yale had tables set up where attendees could find information on possible jobs and learn what training is required to enter those roles.  

“We’re able to show how education is fitting into our local employment needs,” said John Carrere, recruitment and orientation specialist for Pitt Community College.  “The event is designed to engage local high school seniors who may have questions about what happens next after high school.  Some students may still be on the fence about what they plan to do as far as their college education once they’ve graduated.” 

The event also provided guidance to working adults like Rochelle Sawyer of Pamlico County, who is pursuing a nursing degree.  

Sawyer, 39, recently graduated with a degree in medical assisting and transcription and said she was signing up for new classes.   

“I want to come back and do medicine,” Sawyer said.  

Sawyer said she was eager to get information from employers on possible job openings. She praised PCC for hosting the event and her instructors for making her college transition a success. 

“It’s vital, because you’ve got to have your school and what you are looking forward to in the future,” Sawyer said. “Pitt Community College is very important. It’s one of the best schools — everybody’s hands on, personal, they talk with you, get you what you need and point you in the right direction.”

Thomas Gould, Pitt Community College vice president of academic affairs told those in attendance that regardless of their interests, PCC has something to offer.  

“Whatever you are interested in, whatever your passion is, whatever you want to do, we can help you get there,” Gould said. 

To enter good-paying jobs now days,  education and training is becoming more of a requirement than a preference according to Gould.  

“Seventy percent of all new jobs require some sort of post high school education and training,” he said. “It may be short term-training, it may be a degree, it may be a certificate, but in today’s high-tech economic environment, you absolutely need the training and the education that we have here at Pitt Community College.” 

Following Gould’s presentation, recruiters from Hyster-Yale, DPS and Thermo-Fisher Scientific spoke about their companies and what possible career fields students could pursue. Fields highlighted included law enforcement, advanced manufacturing and bio-technology jobs, including pharmaceuticals. 

Wade Washington, a recruiter for Hyster-Yale pointed to PCC’s advanced manufacturing program and highlighted the company’s partnership with the school through an apprenticeship program. 

Hyster-Yale employees more than 1,400 employees in Greenville and manufactures forklifts for worldwide distribution, tapping into a $4 billion industry.  

While the PCC’s bio technology program was being highlighted, attendees learned about Mayne Pharma’s new scholars program which began in March.  

The program aims to draw STEM-focused students into pharmaceutical careers. The initiative is designed to help address a shortage of qualified workers in the industry. It provides two-year scholarships, valued at $8,000, for eight students to pursue an associate's degree in biotechnology at PCC.

Those attending NextFest also were able to attend breakout sessions to learn more about the admissions process and registration.

For more information, visit pittcc.edu. 

Contact Tyler Stocks at tstocks@reflector.com or 252-329-9566