ABOVE PHOTO: Senior pastor of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church Rev. Dr. Alyn Waller, left, is joined by Councilwoman Cherelle Parker during her 11th Annual ‘College, Vocational and Labor Fair’ held inside Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church’s Family Life Center on Saturday, September 15, 2018. (–SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Councilwoman Cherelle Parker (D-9th Dist.) hosted a labor, vocational and college fair for students and parents at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church’s Family Life Center on Saturday, September 15, 2018.
Co-sponsored by Enon and Future Minds Inc., the fair featured more than 50 colleges, universities and trade organizations from around the country and included financial aid workshops conducted by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Authority (PHEAA).
Parker referenced current research pointing out that by 2020, an estimated two-thirds of all jobs will require post-secondary education or some training.
That statistic, she noted, speaks to the necessity of an educated workforce.
“Whether you are a high school student, an adult looking to complete your degree or connect with important resources or someone looking for a new career path, this fair is an excellent opportunity to get valuable information,” Parker said.
During the three-hour long event, students and parents discussed post-secondary education and career options with the featured schools and organizations, ranging from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and religious institutions to Ivy League institutions and career schools.
Schools included: the Community College of Philadelphia, Lincoln University, Temple University, Clemson University, Cheyney University, Penn State University and Empire Beauty School.
Trade and industry organizations featured at the fair included the Philadelphia Apprentice Coordinators Association [PACA], labor unions and the National Society of Black Engineers.
Families like the Wilsons said the college fair’s array of academic institutions and programs was one of its strengths and did help them broaden their scope.
“There are programs that allow students to work, to learn a trade and to earn money while they are working. My grandson is interested in electrical engineering, so he can also learn a trade that can help pay for his education,” said Bertha Wilson, grandmother of a high school junior. “We will need financial help paying for his education.”
Wilson’s grandson Will acknowledged that he is more knowledgeable of varying post-secondary education options and that he will continue his research to help select the right academic path.
According to Parker, the major objective of Saturday’s event was to provide students and their families with information that will help them make informed decisions and enable them chart future educational and professional goals.
“There are over 50 colleges and institutions of higher learning and dozens of labor unions and trade groups present,” said Parker. “It is an opportunity to get valuable information and connect with important resources to help everyone, from children to parents, make decisions about future options.”