The Northeast PA Manufacturers & Employers Council and Pennsylvania College of Technology announced the first recipients of the YES Certificate Program Scholarship for the 2020-21 academic year.

Six students from six school districts have earned the award. All have been certified through the YES Program and have chosen to further their education at Penn College. The students and their school districts are: Madeline M. Bordner, Williams Valley; Ryan D. Evert, North Schuylkill; Karson J. Felty, Pine Grove Area; Matt J. Siluk, Blue Mountain; Marcus A. Toot, Pittston Area; and Ethan R. Wagner, Minersville Area.

Each of the students will receive a $2,000 renewable scholarship. If they choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree, they will be eligible for up to $8,000. Through this opportunity, students will enter the workforce as well-rounded employees, having received essential skills training through YES and advanced technical knowledge in their field of study during their time on campus.

“The Council applauds the accomplishments of these six students and would like to congratulate them on earning this scholarship,” said Darlene J. Robbins, MAEC president. “Through the joint efforts of both the Council and Penn College, they will undoubtedly be leaders in the workforce of the future.”

“We are thrilled to offer this scholarship opportunity to students who successfully complete the YES Program,” said Carolyn R. Strickland, vice president for enrollment management and associate provost at Penn College. “To earn this credential, students must demonstrate persistence, a strong work ethic and a high level of commitment – qualities that are also exhibited by Penn College graduates. YES Program graduates will make ideal ‘tomorrow makers.’ We are especially excited to welcome this first cohort of scholarship recipients to our Penn College community.”

YES (Your Employability Skills), 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 they are seeing 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.

As an additional benefit to the first scholarship recipients, Penn College announced that, in future graduating classes, YES students will be able to stack their scholarship with a new opportunity through the college that offers support to completers of career and technical education programs.

To be eligible for the Career & Technical Education Student Scholarship, an applicant must be a Pennsylvania resident, be enrolled full time, have completed a minimum of one year (or 360 hours) in a Pennsylvania Department of Education-approved career and technical education program, earn a 2.0 cumulative GPA for all CTE-completed coursework, submit a final official CTC/CTE transcript, and submit the Penn College Scholarship Application.

Like the YES Certificate Program Scholarship, this opportunity offers a $2,000 renewable scholarship for up to four years for baccalaureate students and two years for associate degree students. To renew, all recipients must remain enrolled full time and maintain a GPA of at least 2.5.

YES graduates who were also enrolled in a career and technical education program will be eligible to earn up to $16,000 through the two awards.