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York College’s career practicum class gives Human Services students a close-up view of their future career

December 12, 2016
Human Services

Annemarie Orndorff came to York College of Pennsylvania with a blurry view of her future.

As an undeclared student, she had an interest in marketing, business and education, but she soon discovered a path that would lead her to give back to the community through a degree in Human Services.

“As I started to take classes here, I began to find my true self and my value to the world: helping others,” she says.

In York College’s Human Services program, Orndorff saw what her future career could hold thanks to a partnership between York College and the York County Human Services Department.

 

A partnership for hands-on experience

As part of York College’s recently redesigned Human Services program, the new career practicum class that students take in their sophomore year provides hands-on career experience.

Students in the class visit six different agencies throughout York County, where they shadow various employees and staff to get a better sense of what these jobs entail.

They also help create the York County Human Services Department newsletter for its staff, which gives them a chance to learn about various department programs.

According to Jessica Mockabee, assistant director of the York County Human Services Department, “the practicum will lead to well-prepared college graduates entering the human services profession, and we look forward to the continued partnership.”

Students such as Orndorff had several unique opportunities through the partnership, including:]

  • shadowing a care manager with the York County Area Agency on Aging at Senior LIFE York;
  • shadowing an intensive care manager supervisor through York County Mental Health;
  • volunteering at a homeless outreach day at Asbury United Methodist Church;
  • and volunteering at the York County Youth Development Center. 

“The variety of experiences was great for me,” Orndorff says. “There are a lot of different things I could do with my degree, and this gave me a taste of what some of those could be.”

Preparing students for life after college

Robyn Maitoza, assistant professor of Human Services, says she heard from former York College students who wished they had career exposure early on in their college experiences. 

Many of them had little direction where to intern by their senior years and as graduates, some of them were unsure where to go with their careers. 

But all of that is changing.

“Students can see how diverse the human services profession really is, and it helps them to explore all of the options out there,” says Maitoza, who helped design the practicum class with the York County Human Services Division.

For Orndorff, the class helped her decide she wants to help York countians who are aging and have a mental illness.

“It is intimidating being in a field that is so broad,” she says. “I was concerned at first about finding my way, but this class has allowed me to do just that.”

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