York County workforce summit highlights partnerships and hiring veterans


Successful partnerships between York County schools and businesses and an increased effort to find jobs for local veterans were topics of discussion Tuesday morning at the Wyndham Garden York hotel.

The Sixth Annual Workforce Development Summit, hosted by the York County Economic Alliance, updated attendees on efforts to better the current and future workforce in the county.

Ellie Lamison, senior manager of the alliance's workforce development, said talent attraction and pipeline development have been her team's main focus.

Biz and ed: Part of that pipeline development is the alliance's business and education partnership program, which began in 2009 and is up to nine actively participating school districts, Lamison said.

Efforts of the Southern York County and South Western school districts were highlighted during the summit.

Susquehannock High School marketing students are in the midst of a partnership with Sweet Frog Premium Frozen Yogurt to develop a marketing campaign from scratch to increase sales during colder months, when it's more difficult to sell frozen treats.

Senior Maddie McGowan and junior Rachel Marshner both spoke at the summit, telling the audience that the real-world experience has been unlike anything they get to do in other classes.

"Normally in school, we get some sort of layout for what we should be doing," Marshner said. "This was from scratch, and it's showing me a lot about the real world."

South Western High School technical-education teacher Bruce Lee said it's important for public education to partner with businesses.

"Industries are looking to (public education) to solve industry problems, and York County is definitely stepping up to the plate," Lee said.

Lee's classes have partnered with numerous manufacturing and welding companies, including KLK Welding, Snyder's and Utz, he said, with hopes to bridge the skills gap those industries are facing.

Lee, who's been at South Western for 31 years, said he's seen multiple students enter the manufacturing and welding workforces after taking his elective classes, as students' eyes are opened to advancements in the industries.

Hiring vets: The summit also featured a panel moderated by state Rep. Seth Grove, R-Dover Township, answering questions about hiring and assisting veterans.

Panelists — including Gary Laird of the Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce, Phillip Palandro of York County, Melissa Menke of BAE Systems, Sgt. Kenneth Olsen of the U.S. Army and Vincent Jones of the PA CareerLink in York — spoke about the advantages of hiring veterans and some of the programs aimed at assisting returning veterans to find work.

"Oftentimes, it takes some time to teach someone to be a good leader," said Menke, whose company has hired numerous veterans. "That skill is taught to individuals in the military."

— Reach David Weissman at