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Vance Jackson, sophomore in automotive technology, visits with potential future employers at the KTC Automotive Orientation Day on Wednesday, Mar. 6. The morning started with six panels and ended with students meeting industrial guests.

Automotive Orientation Day brings opportunities for PSU tech students

More than 30 automotive technology businesses and many PSU automotive tech and diesel, and heavy equipment students spent the day together to network and form connections between employers and potential employees. 

On Wednesday, March 6th, the PSU department of automotive technology hosted Automotive Orientation Day (AOD). Students were able to attend panels and a job fair, where they could meet with faculty and employers from around the state. 

“For us, we get to learn more about the students’ personality than just in a quick face-to-face interview,” said Troy Burkey, director of operations for Fluor Infrastructure Equipment. “I think the students learn a lot from the guys here, talking about the industry. I feel like those that are in the same place I am know what the students are here for and can tell them what they need to hear, and in these panels I think they get a lot from that.” 

The event started with a meet and greet at 8 a.m. and ended with a job fair until 2:30 p.m. Students were able to attend different panels with companies of their choice. 

“I want to talk to companies, see about internships, and see what my job opportunities are going forward,” said Manny Vazquez, sophomore in automotive technology. “These events give you a chance to network with other companies and get your name out there, because if you introduce yourself once, they’re gonna come back and remember you, which is an important thing.” 

The event benefits not only Pitt State automotive technology students of all ages, but it is also useful for companies in need of employees.  

“We have a desperate need for technicians because our company is growing so fast,” said Keenan Darnell, branch operations manager with Crown. “For instance, our Kansas City branch has gone from eight technicians to 30plus in 5 years. This kind of event helps with the growth of our company; by adding technicians it means more business. Our customers can be helped quicker and it makes them happier which just helps everyone overall.” 

Many companies at the event were looking to hire interns, part-time, or full-time employees, and the event allowed them to interact with PSU students who are ready for work. 

“An internship would be really nice for freshman year, so I can work over the summer, get money coming in, that would really help with all this college stuff,” said Bryce Combs, freshman in diesel and heavy equipment. “This is beneficial because it gets you talking to a bunch of people that you never would’ve imagined yourself talking to, in my opinion. You walk from one dealership with standard gas engines, semis, and all kinds of different stuff. Hopefully one of these internships will get me started.” 

Students were also invited to attend the AOD Appreciation Reception & Dinner the evening before Automotive Orientation Day. It was an opportunity to visit with PSU automotive faculty and alumni, and other automotive industry recruiters before Automotive Orientation Day. 

“We like coming here for the quality of the student and their interest in the automotive field,” said Jennifer Loehr, recruiter for Penske. “I hope they learn about their industry and its opportunities. I think this event bridges the gap between students being in school and figuring out where their professional development is and where they can take their career.” 

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