WTAJ Special Report: Top Local Jobs

Local News

Central Pennsylvania, (WTAJ)– Are you in a dead-end job? One with little room for advancement? There are many options in Central Pennsylvania.

WTAJ traveled across four main regions in the area to discover the most readily available and family sustaining jobs–and what you can do to get them.

This story is for everyone. Those getting out of high school or college, and anyone looking for a new job. Some may be struggling to find one, but WTAJ discovered if you know how and where to look, there’s plenty of jobs out there.

Below you will find the top jobs available, broken down by region.

Cambria & Somerset Counties

Most available jobs:

  • CDL Truck Driving
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing

“The fastest growing occupation right now is CDL drivers, truck drivers… individuals going into our CDL program usually have jobs before they finish the program,” said Jeff Dick, Site Administrator, PA Career Link, Cambria & Somerset Counties.

He added:”It’s a career where somebody can go to school in a fairly short amount of time and get into a family sustaining wage very quickly.”

Jeff Dick says Career Link offers on-the-job training for CDL careers and reimburse 50% of their wages while the company’s training them.

The two-county area averages almost 400 open jobs a month. At least 50-to-60 openings are for truck drivers.

Some may not think driving is the career for them, but Dick says you won’t always be sent across the nation.

“In the CDL if you want to stay local it’s available,” he said.

Blair, Bedford, & Huntingdon Counties

Most available jobs:

  • Healthcare
  • Retail
  • Manufacturing

“Driving the healthcare industry here is UPMC-Altoona. They’re one of our largest employers…one of the other things driving jobs is assisted living healthcare facilities,” said Gwen Fisher, Site Administrator for PA Career Link, Blair & Bedford Counties.

She added: “As artificial intelligence starts to replace repetitive tasks, there’s people need to run those machines.”

Fisher says she expects much more job growth in healthcare, up to 30% in the coming years.

Currently, there’s 4,200 registered nursing jobs open in the area. Fisher says there are other careers for technicians in hospitals.

“As artificial intelligence starts to replace repetitive tasks, there’s people need to run those machines,” she said.

She added that for some healthcare jobs, a four-year degree is not required and that certifications are available in certain areas of healthcare.

Centre County

Most available jobs:

  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Office and Administration Positions (including government jobs)

Education jobs, are one of the most plentiful–with Penn State as the largest employer in the county.

“Job seekers we see range from anyone who may not have a high school diploma–to job seekers who have PHD’s,” Judy Fitzgerald, Site Administrator, PA Career Link Centre & Mifflin Counties.

Fizgerald said all education levels sometimes need help landing a job.

“It may be that your resume just needs to be tweaked a little,” she said, adding that often job seekers aren’t the best at selling themselves on a resume.

“There are jobs seekers that may feel like they don’t have any skills–aren’t aware of them… yes indeed you have skills—this is how we can list them,” Fitzgerald said.

She told WTAJ one of the best ways to do that is use “key words” that employers are looking for (specific to job skills).

While Centre County has the lowest unemployment rate in PA at 3.3%, there’s still about 3,000 people looking for jobs.

Recently, Fizgerald says trends are showing more government jobs are becoming available as the greater State College area continues to grow.

Clearfield, Cameron, Elk, & Jefferson Counties

Most available jobs:

  • Manufacturing
  • Healthcare
  • CDL Truck Drivers

Susan Snelick, Executive Director of Workforce Solutions in North Central PA, said manufactures are a major employer in the area–citing a need for machinists and operators at many production spots.

Snelick said one of the best ways to land these jobs is through on-the-job training, which Workforce Solutions offers. She adds there’s one skill many are lacking.

“The number one thing we hear from every employer is the need for their workforce to have soft skills,” she said.

A key component of strong “soft skills” is being able to communicate properly. Snelick says a lack of these skills is not specific to any age group, and sometimes the skills can be hard to teach when job seekers don’t think they need improvement.

“The person needs to recognize that they need those skills,” Snelick said.

She added: “Teamwork is a soft skill that is always needed… especially manufacturing–very seldom are you the only person influencing a project.”

Snelick says even simple things like being on time, and having a dedicated work ethic go a long way towards not just landing, but keeping a job.

Overall trend

In all of Central PA, one key general trend stuck out related to the job market: a limited workforce. Many “Baby Boomers” are retiring and there’s not enough employees to take their place.

WTAJ interviewed workers recently hired at new positions. They offered their stories and tips on their experiences. Check back on WEARECENTRALPA.COM for videos of these interviews.

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February 07 2021 06:30 pm

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