SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) hosted their Career and College Transfer Fair, drawing hundreds of students eager to explore their educational and career options.

The event provided attendees with an invaluable chance to engage with employers and college representatives.

STCC student Dani Hernandez, who is currently studying liberal arts and contemplating enrolling in the Criminal Justice program, found the fair to be an excellent opportunity to explore transfer options. “It’s a good idea to check out the schools that are available and have the program that I want to study,” Hernandez shared.

STCC student Dani Hernandez meets with a college representative at the STCC College and Career Transfer Fair on Thursday, Oct. 19. (Courtesy of Springfield Technical Community College)

The event catered to a diverse crowd, including current students, alumni, and friends of STCC, offering them the chance to interact with representatives from approximately 20 colleges and universities. Additionally, attendees could engage with 40 to 45 employers who had set up booths in the gymnasium of Scibelli Hall at STCC. Employers emphasized the continued strength of the job market, with numerous job openings available at companies across the region. Many of these businesses are eager to hire candidates who possess skills acquired through degrees and certificate programs at STCC.

Jay Talbot, Vice President of Human Resources at Guidewire, a nonprofit organization specializing in providing care for individuals with disabilities, expressed enthusiasm for connecting with students and other attendees. “We love these types of events because we’re seeking energetic people. It’s great to meet these students who can help us build our workforce,” Talbot noted.

L3Harris Technologies, a manufacturing company and defense contractor with a location in Northampton, was among the participating employers. Notably, three of their employees at the event was STCC alumni: Zachary Bednarczyk ’22, Brad Ellis ’21, and Joe Mekal ’14. These alumni, graduates of the Optics and Photonics program, emphasized the direct applicability of their STCC education to their roles at L3Harris Technologies.

STCC alumni Zachary Bednarczyk, Joe Mekal and Brad Ellis work at L3Harris Technologies and joined the STCC College and Career Transfer Fair on Thursday, Oct. 19. (Courtesy of Springfield Technical Community College)

“Everything I learned from STCC translates almost directly to what I do,” said Bednarczyk, a test technician at L3Harris, a company specializing in products that use optics and photonics technology for the Navy.

STCC offers a range of STEM programs, including Optics and Photonics, that are unique to the region. As the only technical community college in Massachusetts, STCC provides degrees and certificates in various manufacturing, STEM, and healthcare programs. The institution also offers popular business, social services, and liberal art transfer programs.

For students interested in transferring to a four-year institution after completing their studies at STCC, the fair provided valuable connections with representatives from universities like the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Westfield State University. These representatives shared insights about campus life, class sizes, and programs like MassTransfer, which offers seamless pathways and financial incentives for students to begin at STCC and then transfer to a state college or university.

Mogran Donovan-Hall, Director of Transfer Admissions at the UMass Amherst, emphasized the university’s goal of enhancing access to higher education. “We want to help break down some of the barriers for them and let them know this can be a simple process, and there’s someone to help them every step of the way,” Donovan-Hall said.

At the Westfield State University table, Joanna Lenfest, a transfer counselor at WSU, answered questions about campus size and classrooms while promoting MassTransfer, which allows STCC students to save money and make progress towards their bachelor’s degree.

STCC’s Workforce Development division organized the Career and College Transfer Fair, which was met with enthusiasm from students and participants. Gladys Franco, Assistant Vice President of Workforce Development at STCC, expressed her satisfaction with the event’s turnout. “We saw students and others streaming in and out of the gym all morning. They asked excellent questions and were able to network and hopefully find opportunities,” Franco said. “Thank you to the employers and colleges and universities who joined us for the event to help with our mission to support students as they transform their lives.”

The Career and College Transfer Fair successfully brought together students and potential opportunities, facilitating meaningful connections and paving the way for promising futures.

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