Over thirty years ago, PUC’s Education Days was founded as a convenient way of connecting graduating education majors with potential employers in both the Adventist and the public school systems.
PUC’s third party administrator and field services coordinator, Debra Murphy, explained, “The goal of the dinner is to introduce our teaching candidates to future employers in a fairly intimate setting. We hope to foster conversations that ultimately lead to our students securing jobs after graduation.”
To ensure a wide variety of employers are present, superintendents and principals from all across the Pacific Union Conference are invited to the event. In all, five states are represented at the Education Days dinner including California, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. A job fair also took place the following day, allowing students who could not attend the dinner to speak to potential employers in a less formal setting as well.
In addition to a variety of representatives from the Adventist education system, public school officials also seek out potential employees from PUC. Murphy noted, “School districts we have directed teaching contracts with include Napa, St. Helena, Calistoga, Santa Rosa, Pope Valley, Konocti, Lake County, Fairfield, and Vallejo, as well as principals from the local schools. These districts, where we often place students for their lab work and full-time student teaching stints, are welcome to meet with our graduates at both the dinner and the job fair.”
Liberal studies major Tom Harrington was especially impressed with the event’s wide array of career opportunities.
“I was very grateful to the department of education for sending our information out to the attendees before the event took place,” he says. “As a result, I was lucky enough to meet with a handful of superintendents and principals who wanted to talk to me about specific job opportunities, having seen my qualifications before the event.”
The department of education has the event down to a science, as nearly every participant is offered a job by the end of the summer.
Harrington reaffirmed the positive potential for employment that the Education Days dinner allows PUC graduates. “Overall, this event was really amazing, as it provided all the teaching candidates with an incredible networking opportunity with employers in the Adventist education system. By allowing us to get our names out there and showcase our strengths, it greatly increases our chances of being hired directly after graduation.”
Michelle Camba, a liberal studies major with English teaching credentials, shared Harrington’s sentiment. “Education Days was a great opportunity for me to meet so many representatives from different districts and conferences, and it allows teacher candidates a chance to show potential employers why they would be a valuable addition in a school.”
Looking toward the future, the department of education hopes to invite an increasing number of potential employers each year, providing students with the best odds of securing jobs immediately after their senior year.
That should be an manageable task, as PUC graduates appear to be in high demand.
“I get a lot of comments from employers—private and public—regarding how well our teacher candidates conduct themselves in the interviews and during the banquet presentations,” Murphy says, beaming. “One superintendent said he would hire every one of them if he could.”
Access to several area schools is also a huge benefit to the students, as they get experience in the classroom and develop positive working relationships with school administration and staff.
“Our teacher candidates have great reputations in the local schools, and many are often offered jobs from the schools where they student taught,” Murphy explains. “Calistoga Elementary alone has 3 former PUC education students. Our teaching program has a great reputation, and we’re very proud of our graduates.”Those interested in learning more about PUC’s teaching programs are encouraged to email the department of education at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit puc.edu/education.