HARRISBURG, Pa. — Penn State Harrisburg has received a gift of $250,000 from the John Crain Kunkel Foundation to expand the college’s career services office, which will be renamed the John Crain Kunkel Career Center. With these funds, the office will be able to offer a greater range of services and resources to students.
The center will be officially dedicated at 10:30 a.m. on April 29 in the Student Enrichment Center Spiritual Center (Room 210) on campus.
Congressman John Crain Kunkel, after whom the foundation is named, represented Dauphin County and in 1966 was a driving force to establish Penn State Harrisburg on much of the former Olmstead Air Force Base property. Over the past 30 years, the John Crain Kunkel Foundation has made significant contributions to the Penn State Harrisburg campus and the greater Harrisburg region. This latest gift will help provide all students the resources they need to help them succeed in their future careers.
“Penn State Harrisburg is committed to providing students with an exceptional educational experience and preparing them fully for career success after graduation,” said Penn State Harrisburg Chancellor John M. Mason Jr. “We are grateful for this generous gift from the John Crain Kunkel Foundation which will help us to expand out-of-classroom experiences for our students and provide a more comprehensive portfolio of career-readiness resources.”
The gift will support the hiring and training of additional career peer counselors, student staff members in the career services office who act as liaisons between the office and students, as well as the hiring of a diversity career specialist to assist the college’s diverse students in their career counseling needs. The gift will also support new career center programs.
“There is a growing demand from employers with diversity recruitment initiatives and Penn State Harrisburg’s highly diverse population makes us a natural choice of employers,” said Katy Rush, associate director of the career center. “We also enroll a large number of low-income, first-generation, and veteran students. These student populations require additional support and have unique career counseling needs. With the addition of a diversity career specialist, we are confident that we will be able to prepare these students for gainful employment and to meet employer needs.”
Other new offerings by the career center will include an alternative career spring break where students will be immersed in career shadowing, project learning, and mentoring with participating employers; employment and monetary support for students participating in unpaid internships with non-profit and community organizations; and industry-specific career networking events aimed at specialty populations, such as veterans, athletes, individuals with disabilities, first-generation students, women, students from historically underrepresented populations, LGBTQ students, and non-traditional learners.
“These populations require a different level of preparation and need access to networking opportunities with employers in different ways,” Rush said. “Programs will be industry specific with specialty populations in mind. Access to transportation, pre-event preparation, etiquette training and professional attire will be provided.”
“All of these career-building experiences are critical for students to differentiate themselves in the job market and prepare for future careers,” said Rush. “We are incredibly thankful for the support of the John Crain Kunkel Foundation.”
This gift will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.