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Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties

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Recruiter Honored For Helping Develop Talent

For the past ten years Jim Barnshaw has brought a different perspective to the recruitment office. His skills as a former mechanic, electrician, foreman and director in SEPTA's Regional Rail shop provide necessary insight in a constantly changing field of technology.

Barnshaw now works with nearly 50 adult education schools and coordinates training and recruitment to direct individuals to the right career path in transportation at SEPTA. Working with the school's advisory board and instructors, Barnshaw is able to tailor his presentation to the students' specific career goals. Although several fields may be presented, Barnshaw primarily recruits for the mechanical disciplines.

Recognizing the need for hands-on education, in the early 90's Barnshaw spear-headed a fledgling internship program in the rail division. The internships improve the skills of potential new hires and the quality of electrical training they receive. The interns are enrolled in technical schools located in the five county area. Approximately 35 SEPTA employees were hired after completing the internship program and over 85% of these new employees have remained in their career of choice.

"I'm really proud of that," said Barnshaw. "It means a lot to me that I have been able to help start people off on a career destination that they stick with."

Students at area trade schools are not the only individuals Barnshaw prepares for potential employment; he has also developed a solid working relationship with members of the military as they transition to a new career in private industry.

"Those who have served our country have obtained a great deal of knowledge and skill using state-of-the-art technology," said Barnshaw. "I make regular visits to Willow Grove Naval Air Station, Fort Dix and CareerLink while working with the Veterans Association.  They are very disciplined and knowledgeable individuals who may have worked in program logic control, advanced fiber optics and many areas important to SEPTA. I provide them with information on how they can best utilize their talents. It really is a perfect partnership."

Recently, Barnshaw was honored before nearly 1,000 of his peers statewide at the Hershey Convention Center in Harrisburg where he accepted the annual Governors Workforce Development Award for his diligent recruitment efforts helping individuals obtain training, information, and valuable guidance towards technical careers at SEPTA. Barnshaw was nominated by officials from the Pennsylvania's CareerLink job training and resource centers.

"I certainly didn't expect the recognition," said Barnshaw. "It just comes from the heart. Helping people realize their skill set and understanding where it is needed today is very rewarding."

"In the past, it was difficult to fill positions in the mechanical or electronics area," said Barnshaw. "Not enough people knew SEPTA's testing or training process. Many did not have the adequate education to work with the advanced technology SEPTA is implementing. Because I am familiar first-hand with the requirements and knowledge necessary, I can take that information to career programs and schools. SEPTA is now able to better prepare our potential hires. Now it's not unusual for us to have a waiting list for these jobs."

As if he didn't have enough on his plate, for the past five years Barnshaw finds time to teach Residential and Industrial Electricity at Bucks County Community College.

"There were a lot of things that I could have done in my career but none would have been as fulfilling as to able to help someone realize their capabilities and see them grow in their talents," said Barnshaw.


Barnshaw greets students at Pennco Technical Institute at a recent career fair



Potential hires receive important information from Barnshaw on educational and technical training at career fairs



Barnshaw makes regular visits to military locations to assist servicemen and women as they transition to careers in private industry



Career fairs are regularly well attended as Barnshaw (standing,center) conducts informational sessions