From left to right: Carolyn R. Strickland, vice president for enrollment management/associate provost, Penn College; Courtney Fasnacht, executive director, NEPA MAEC; Darlene J. Robbins, president, NEPA MAEC; Davie Jane Gilmour, president, Penn College; Matt Shuey, communications & program director, NEPA MAEC; Audriana L. Empet, director of admissions, Penn College


The Northeast PA Manufacturers & Employers Council and Pennsylvania College of Technology today announced a partnership and a scholarship opportunity for YES (Your Employability Skills) Northeast Program graduates.

YES, which is administered by the Council, is a 120-hour, one-credit, year-round elective course that addresses the shortfall of basic skills that employers say are lacking in many job applicants.  The course covers 38 modules in all, including communication, team building, interview/resume/cover letter writing, completing a job application, personal finance, conflict resolution, and time management.

In order to earn a certification and become a graduate of the program, students must achieve passing scores on both the TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) and the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test, demonstrate an attendance rate of 95% or better, pass a six-panel drug screen, complete the 120 hours of curriculum, and earn their high school diploma. Since the program began in 2006, more than 7,500 students have enrolled in the program with 2,633 earning their industry-recognized credential.

Starting with the 2020 fall semester, graduates of the program that enroll at Penn College are eligible to receive a $2,000 renewable scholarship. Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree are eligible for up to $8,000; associate degree students are eligible for up to $4,000. The scholarship is for first-time, full-time students.

“The Council is proud to partner with Pennsylvania College of Technology, as together we can help to build the workforce of tomorrow for industry and across our regional economy,” said NEPA MAEC president Darlene J. Robbins. “Within the manufacturing industry alone, there will be 2.4 million jobs to fill over the next decade.

“Manufacturers are facing a workforce crisis, but with this brings an opportunity, because together we can bring more people into high-paying careers by connecting them with the right training opportunities. This is not only true for the manufacturing industry, but for all of the industries that Penn College prepares their students to enter.”

“This exciting partnership with the Northeast PA Manufacturers & Employers Council extends the benefits of a hands-on, applied technology education to a new group of students, who will become the ‘tomorrow makers’ the workforce needs as it addresses critical skills-gap shortages in so many industries and professions,” said Penn College president Davie Jane Gilmour. “We are thrilled to offer scholarship support to YES Northeast Program graduates, whose training in the basic skills that all employers seek, provides them with a running start on a successful college experience.”

Across 100-plus diverse majors, Penn College students are learning to work, solve and lead in a wide range of in-demand career fields. Instruction is offered by faculty – many with extensive real-world experience – in cutting-edge facilities and labs featuring the latest equipment, often provided by the college’s valued industry partners. Students have access to an expansive network of companies offering employment and internship opportunities through twice-annual Career Fairs and other events.

Through this scholarship opportunity, graduates both from the YES Program and Penn College will enter the workforce as well-rounded employees, having received extensive soft-skills training through YES and advanced technical knowledge in their field of study during their time on campus. This is a direct attack on the growing skills gap that’s plaguing employers and businesses across the nation.

“The partnership between Penn College and the YES Program will be a tremendous benefit to local businesses that require trained workers with the skill sets that Penn College offers,” said Cardinal Systems vice-president of manufacturing John Barnetsky. “Cardinal Systems has been a part of the YES Program since it started and we currently work in conjunction with Penn College on several training projects. We have hired students that have graduated from the YES Program and from Penn College. They are all very great employees and have advanced in their careers since being hired.”

For more information on the YES Program, visit the Council’s website at, or call their office at 570-622-0940.

Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, is a special mission affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University. The college has a 97.3% graduate placement rate (100% in many majors) based on the latest available data.

To learn more about Penn College or this unique scholarship opportunity, visit, email or call 800-367-9222.