Are high school juniors and seniors ready for the workforce? Are they familiar with award-winning workplaces that offer employment in the backyard?

Today, the United Way of Wyoming Valley announced a new partnership with the Northeast PA Manufacturers & Employers Council (NEPA MAEC), to provide the YES (Your Employability Skills) program to eligible students in four new schools/districts in northern Luzerne County.

The nation’s largest privately owned dental distributor, Benco Dental, is part of the solution.

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United Way CEO Bill Jones and Northeast PA Manufacturers and Employers Council, Inc. Executive Director Courtney Fasnacht share positive news for area high school students and employers at today’s press conference in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

YES is a 120-hour, 1-credit, yearound elective course that addresses the shortfall of basic skills that employers say are lacking in many job applicants. United Way of Wyoming Valley is supporting the workforce development program expansion through a $20,000 grant.

Emphasized within the YES program:

  • business tours
  • guest-speaking opportunities
  • mock interview events

As part of the YES program, students tour regional businesses to get an inside look at how industry functions and the careers available to them when they are ready to enter the workforce.

One such business is Benco Dental.

With its home office in Pittston, Pennsylvania, the largest privately-owned dental distributor in the United States offers a full array of supplies, equipment and services to dentists across the nation.

“Adding company visits to the YES curriculum allows students to see all the work options in their own backyard. And at Benco, for example, those careers can take them across the U.S.” said Danielle Dominick, a Talent Coordinator at the family-owned company.

At today’s event, Dominick explained a bit about past YES student visits to Benco Dental to WBRE TVs Crystal Cranmore (shown at top).

“Benco Ambassadors welcomed the students from the YES program and offered tours of our home office in Pittston – which is about the size of five football fields.

Tours were followed by conversations with a warehouse supervisor, director of our contact center and me, a Talent Coordinator in our Culture and People department to offer a few perspectives of a day in the life of an associate at Benco.

We shared info about entry-level positions, career ladders and specific requirements for employment at our company.

The students asked questions – they were invested and surprised to learn all that we do here at Benco. During the tour and in the discussions, they were impressed with the award-winning culture that our associates experience every day.”

Benco, which has been named one of Fortune Best Workplaces in Health Care and Biopharma for the past three years, one of the NAFE Top Companies for Executive Women for the second consecutive year, and Pennsylvania’s Best Places to Work® for 12 of the past 14 years, is proud to feature a highly skilled team of more than 400 professionally trained sales representatives and over 300 factory-trained service technicians.

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Matt Shuey, Northeast PA Manufacturers and Employers Council, Inc., Darlene J. Robbins, Northeast PA Manufacturers and Employers Association, Trina Moss, Luzerne and Schuylkill Counties Workforce Investment Board, Danielle Dominick, Benco Dental, Courtney Fasnacht, Northeast PA Manufacturers and Employers Council, Inc.


“At Benco, we’re strong supporters of all of the United Way’s efforts in the community, including this new initiative with the YES program that will make educational opportunities accessible to even more of the young people in the Wyoming Valley.

When more students in the region gain awareness of the employment options, a greater talent pool will be in place when positions become available at Benco and in the area overall. We always suggest that students visit the career section of our company website to read job descriptions and learn what is required. Then, when they see positions they want to pursue, knowing the expectations will help them set their goals,” added Dominick.

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