Grove City College is teaming up with Clark Associates Inc. to better prepare students for the workforce.
The partnership connects the central Pennsylvania food service industry supplier with the College’s Business Program and Career Service Office. A $10,000 investment from Clark will be used to enhance academic offerings and employment opportunities for students.
Randall McCarty, who runs Clark’s Charitable Foundation, said the partnership with Grove City College was natural for the company. “We feel a really strong connection with Grove City College,” he said.
The family-run business based in Lancaster, Pa., has “shared values” with the College and a strong interest in workforce development, he said. Over the last six years, Clark has seen its payroll grow from 900 employees to 5,000. When it comes to filling a job, McCarty said the company is more interested in the quality of the candidate for an opening than their specific qualifications.
“We look at character and a passion for doing a good job, a strong work ethic and integrity. You can’t teach those things on the job,” he said.
Grove City College’s faith-centered educational programs are tailormade to deliver that kind of candidate for any position. The partnership with Clark Associates will provide other avenues to benefit students, according to David M. Butler, assistant professor of Management.
“There is synergy between Grove City College’s values and Clark Associates’ values which will result in mutual benefits for both Clark and the College,” Butler said. “Clark is a fast-growing collective of dynamic companies leading the food service industry. This partnership makes additional opportunities possible, including class project work and jobs and internships for students.”
Mandy Sposato, director of the College’s Career Services Office, noted the company has a history of hiring Grove City College graduates and is a sponsor of the annual Career Fair, the College’s premier recruitment event.
“We see benefit to this relationship in that Clark is interested in hiring talent from the College and we are excited to help create a pipeline into a company that is aligned with our values. We have students looking for roles in such areas as supply chain, IT, marketing and technical writing for which Clark is recruiting,” Sposato said.
The partnership has already resulted in Clark Associates conducting in-class presentations during the week of the Career Fair and interviewing students for internships and full-time jobs. The company is also funding Career Services initiatives, including incentives to get students more involved in planning out their professional paths. On the academic side, the company’s donation will help sponsor students for certifications in Procurement and Project Management and pay for classroom materials.
Sposato credited Butler and Kristen Kailer, assistant director of Career Services, for fostering the partnership through an on-site company visit they participated in during the summer which provided deeper insights into Clark Associates’ work culture and hiring needs.