Journeying beyond “the four walls of the College” shapes graduate’s future
David Gonzalez ’14 remembers when many York College students didn’t interact much with the broader York community. “You were just kind of in the four walls of the College,” he says, “and that was it.”
Early in his time at school, Gonzalez wanted to get involved, so he ran for Student Senate as a general senator. He later worked his way up to Vice President and eventually was elected President of the student body.
Slowly, he began experiencing the wider community beyond campus, and he wanted other students to do the same. “We really tried to break that mold my last two years,” he remembers. From then on, he developed a passion of connecting people and advocacy, shaping the foundation of what would lead to a career he loves.
During his senior year, Gonzalez interned with Downtown Inc. and joined various committees throughout the City. He led the first student-organized First Friday events downtown and helped to secure student volunteers for the 64th Annual York Halloween Parade.
After graduating with a BA in International Relations, Gonzalez landed a community-relations type role at a local nonprofit organization. Two years later, he wanted to branch out into something more along the lines of economic development and overall advocacy, so he started looking for jobs with chambers of commerce along the East Coast.
“I applied to a bunch of jobs and started getting requests for interviews back,” he says. “I remember feeling, ‘Oh man, I guess I’m not going to be in York much longer.’ ”
On the day he moved back home to Easton, Pennsylvania, the York County Economic Alliance (YCEA) asked him to interview for its Advocacy Coordinator position. After a second interview, the YCEA offered him the job onsite. “I was dumbfounded,” he says. “Within less than three weeks’ time, I was back in my hometown, was called to interview for a dream role in York, offered the job, and then I moved again.”
Ever-changing days helping business owners
Today, as the Advocacy Manager at the YCEA, Gonzalez is responsible for government relations on the local, state, and federal levels. He helps business owners understand changing policies and regulations while working through any problems.
“If there’s a business running into an issue, our job is to help advocate for them on the various government levels,” he says. “If there’s one business going through the issue, there’s probably a couple others as well.”
On top of government relations work, he’s a part of a team that helps with workforce development and entrepreneurial activity including skills training, business resources, and connecting job seekers to employers
Gonzalez credits his success to both his classroom experience and extracurriculars at York College. His work during Student Senate, especially, helped him develop leadership and communication skills and try out-of-the-box solutions in a safe environment.
Looking back, he sees how it all translated to the work he currently does. “The college gave me tools without limitations and that turned into a full-blown passion for the York community.”