MCCTC Adult Career Fair Connects Job-Seekers with in-Demand Fields

CANFIELD, Ohio – Kathryn Giovannone has been searching for a job since March, saying it is hard to find work with no experience.

She came to Wednesday’s Mahoning County Career and Technical Center’s Adult Career Center fall enrollment open house and pop-up career fair, looking for opportunities as a medical assistant in phlebotomy. 

The Austintown resident said she’ll take the medical assistant classes at MCCTC this fall to gain that experience. She tells those in her situation not to give up hope.

“Always been interested in the medical field,” Giovannone said. “Just kind of took a leap.”

Cindy DeRose of Canfield left her previous job about 20 years ago and is looking to get back into the medical field as a medical technician or a physician assistant. She was the lead mammography technologist at Trumbull Memorial Hospital and currently works with a naturopathic doctor.

“It’s so close and I know they have a great program,” DeRose said of MCCTC. “I just want to find out as much as I can today.” 

Recent Boardman High School graduate Julien Anders said he was accepted to Kent State University and thought about studying in the criminal justice field, but MCCTC was a better fit for him. He was one of 25 to come to the open house and career fair.

MCCTC offers training for careers in welding, automotive technology, medical assistant, medical office specialist, emergency medical technician, along with firefighting. 

Anders wants to get certified in welding at MCCTC starting this fall. 

“Hopefully I can get a good job after,” he said. “There’s a lot of good companies that are looking for welders right now. I feel like that helps.”

He spoke to the host of companies represented at the career fair and is optimistic about his future at MCCTC.

“I can get really good financial aid, that I might not even have to pay to come here,” Anders said.

Laura Gatrell, adult services coordinator of the Mahoning and Columbiana Training Association, said her agency offers tuition assistance and job training programs to qualified individuals looking for employment, retraining or re-employment. The fields they concentrate on are manufacturing, medical, truck driving and others. Her organization is connected with Ohio Means Jobs.

Mahoning and Columbiana Training Association also offers grants through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services for people who have been impacted by the opioid epidemic. If those people chose a career based on those experiences, such as nursing, social work, medical assisting or EMT, the grant can help alleviate the financial burden.

Gatrell said her tuition assistance program caps out at $9,500 per year for up to two years, and covers tuition fees and books. Testing fees, certifications and uniforms may be included. 

She said the on-the-job and classroom training programs serve around 500 people per year. 

“Employers are desperate for people,” Gatrell said. “We’re helping them get to the point where they’re qualified to apply for these positions. Our goal is employability for people, long-term employability.”

MCCTC financial aid and student services coordinator McKenzie Wirtz’s job is to help prospective students explore options for financing the different school offerings.

She said those interested in applying for assistance should begin with a visit to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid website. 

“That’s basically your first step,” Wirtz said. “Then your financial aid administrator can work with you through the rest.”

After leaving MCCTC, these students will be trained to apply for jobs at places like Sharon Regional Medical Center and interview with talent acquisition specialist Amber Blackwell.

Registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, phlebotomists, environmental health specialists and food service workers are some of the 150 openings Sharon Regional was offering. 

Blackwell was at MCCTC a couple of months ago and was able to hire a couple of full-time phlebotomists because of the training provided by the Canfield-based school.

“It’s very instrumental,” she said.

Meridian Healthcare human resources manager Tarah Lattanzio said her growing company has entry-level to skilled positions throughout their 12 locations in Mahoning and Trumbull Counties. There are 20 jobs open in a company that employs almost 300.

With mental health concerns so prevalent today, she needs her employees to be the right fit for Meridian.

“We could train the right person, but culturally we need people that are compassionate, empathetic, non judgemental to the population that we serve – to truly help people that are suffering from mental health and drug and alcohol abuse.”

Doug Lenehan assistant general manager AML Industries, Inc., was looking to fill two to three positions for general manufacturing on the night shift – an entry-level position with provided in-house training. AML manufactures metalforming lubricants for the steel industry. Filling those positions has not been easy.

“We’ve been looking for roughly two months,” he said.

MCCTC recruiter and marketing coordinator Jodi Glass said the idea for choosing vendors for the career fair was to pair them with the school’s training programs. She wanted people coming Wednesday to see the open positions in the area, view MCCTC’s training programs and see where that might fit in their life.

This is the first in-person open house and career fair the school has offered since October 2019, and she said these events are about growing the area’s workforce – a feeling that permeates around her building.

“We feel it’s our commitment to the Valley to make sure people are working, skilled in their trade and able to confidently step into a job,” Glass said. “We just want to keep the Valley working.”

Pictured: Julien Anders was among the attendees at the MCCTC adult career fair.

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