For the past three years Jessica Shields has held the same job at the Uniontown Save-A-Lot. When she was a student at Pennsylvania Institute of Health and Technology, she was strictly a cashier, but after graduating with a specialized associate degree in Business Management and Accounting, she’s been working in many different parts of the store.
“My job consists of me doing whatever I can do to help the overall growth of the store, such as checking on outside vendors and being responsible for finishing the inventory at the end of each month,” Jessica said. “For the past several months I’ve been working with the managers and learning how to run the cash office, such as preparing the cashier’s till, ‘cashing out’ at the end of the night, preparing bank statements. I also manage our 5-S Program which deals with making sure that our store can function as easily as possible without any complications.”
Jessica enrolled at PIHT right out of high school, no more than two months after graduating. She had attended some classes with her brother, who was a current student, which made her decision “very easy.”
“What I loved most about being a student at PIHT was the classes and, most importantly, the people who taught them,” Jessica said. “I’ll never forget Mrs. Mundel’s debates, Ryan playing Judge, Jury and Executioner in Business Law, or Mary Jo Barnhart’s infamous Typing Class. The classes are what made PIHT, but the instructors are what brought them to life.”
The first club Jessica joined was the school’s first book club where she started out as vice president, and graduated as president.
“The Book Club took place in the library and, although our meetings were only 30 minutes long, we had some riveting discussions about the books we read,” Jessica said. “We laughed, cried, and argued, but it was the best time I ever had.”
Not only did Jessica’s fellow students leave her with great memories of PIHT, but so did the faculty and staff.
“There really are no words to describe the staff and faculty of the school,” she said. “Everyone remembers your name, whether the instructor had you once and knows you just by passing. From the beginning to the end, if I ever had a problem someone was always there to give me an answer, or direct me to someone that could help me.
“I couldn’t say specifically who helped me out the most because I feel like everyone contributed toward my time there at school. I would say that when it came to helping me out the most, Ryan Langley and Robin Addis were always there to help when I had business-related problem.”
It’s been almost a year since Jessica graduated and she still remembers all the tools she acquired at school, and catches herself saying several times a day, “I learned that at school.”
“When a manager tries to teach me something my mind quickly goes back to all my business classes and I couldn’t be happier that I took them,” she said.
Recently she spoke to her HR manager about open positions, and after telling him about graduating from PIHT with a business degree and interning at an accounting office, he handed Jessica a business card that said, “If you ever want to move up, call me.”
“Without PIHT, I never would’ve been given that chance,” Jessica said.
Jessica has recommended PIHT to others, especially to some of her friends who were looking for a fresh start.
“There really is no other school that will be as flexible and accommodating as PIHT,” she said.
Now that she’s completed school and is out in the work force using her degree, Jessica has advice for current and future students.
“Enjoy this time while it lasts,” she said. “Eighteen months goes by fast, and at the end you’ll be wishing to go back. Make friends, go to the parties, celebrate the little things, and most importantly make it worth it. After it’s all said and done the last thing you want to do is regret all of it. Make your time at PIHT the best time you ever had.”
For more information on graduation rates, median debt of students who have completed their programs, and other important information, please visit our website at www.piht.edu/programs.