May 19, 2023
On Friday, April 21st, over 60 students gathered at PARC, the Chester County Council, Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Exton, PA to begin a day of hands-on career exploration. Dr. Joe Fullerton, Director of Career Technical & Customized Education at the Chester County Intermediate Unit, gave the youth an inspiring speech about finding and following your passion, before sending them off on buses for a variety of interactive stops filled with occupational discovery. Each participant was given the opportunity to choose one of three pathways: engineering, healthcare, or agriculture. The chosen pathway shaped the experience for the rest of the day, with multiple employer visits and a tour of relevant labs and classrooms at the Technical College High School.
Attendees on the engineering bus first traveled to Pennhurst Asylum to meet with a Pennoni engineer who allowed the youth to explore the buildings while explaining the architectural engineering seen within the structure and what is being done to preserve it and make adjustments for future planned uses. At TCHS, among other things, the group toured the electrical engineering workshops where they built circuits and learned how to properly use the tools of the trade.
Healthcare students toured the Tactical Village at the Chester County Public Safety Training Center, one of the most innovative training facilities for emergency responders in the Mid-Atlantic region, where EMTs learn the skills needed to rescue victims from simulated, dangerous scenarios. Later, at the CCIU, the youth were able to diagnose and treat asthma using a manikin, a full-body patient simulator that mimics human anatomy and physiology and safely allows for the teaching of clinical skills in a professional healthcare setting.
The agriculture pathway visited a dairy farm where they learned the cheese production process from cow to store, and that dairy cows wear devices that are like Fitbits which track when the cows need to drink, sleep, and be milked! In the afternoon they went to veterinary science classrooms for some hands-on activities that mimic what the TCHS gets to do within their curriculum
The participants returned to PARC in the afternoon for additional activities together. The Department of Emergency Services led a Stop the Bleed training course, certifying all present after being given instruction in and demonstrating proficiency at applying tourniquets and packing wounds. This certification allows these youth to provide leadership and first aid for their communities if ever caught in a catastrophic situation. Before the day ended, CCRES instructors presented useful job-seeking advice for teens, including communication skills, interviewing tactics, and how to keep social media accounts clean for potential employer searches.
Students walked away with valuable experiences and the means to pursue educational opportunities with sponsoring organizations, including summer camps and vocational classes during the school year. One student reported, “After visiting the Tactical Village, I went back to school and set up EMT courses at the CCPS Training Center for next year as part of my curriculum. I want to be a trauma surgeon one day!”
This event was made available through a collaboration with the Chester County Council, Boy Scouts of America’s Exploring program, Chester County Economic Development Council, and Chester County Intermediate Unit (including TCHS and CCRES), and thanks to generous support from Bentley Systems and the Justamere Foundation.