PHILADELPHIA — Some future careers in the fabrics business got a head start last month, when 14 member firms of the Textile Distributors Association visited the Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science.

The “Textile Career Day,” staged March 22, was the first such event put on by the 150-member TDA, which is comprised mainly of New York-based mills and converters.

The companies discussed with students everything from employment opportunities at their firms to the industry’s relationship to SA and the work environment there, to career paths in the textile and apparel industries. Each company met with at least eight students, giving them up to an hour each.

“This day is definitely worthwhile,” said Ron Pow, a graduate student in textile design. “I’ve gotten a few prospective job leads, and I’m really excited about them. The whole atmosphere is very professional, and it’s a marvelous career networking situation.

“I also had one company call me back twice, which is very encouraging,” Pow said.

Susan Ransel, a senior textile design major, said she signed up for interviews with six firms.

“For people who really want to work in New York City, the TDA’s visit was exciting,” Ransel said.

Ron Loeser, executive vice president of Omega Textiles and one of the coordinators of the event, noted that the TDA has been providing scholarships at the school since 1985.

“I met with about 14 students, and I can make offers to about three, without a doubt,” Loeser said. He said his firm had two openings in the styling department and one for a trainee.

“What we thought was an experiment has turned out to be something we would like to continue,” Loeser added. “These kids are definitely ready to enter the business world. The machinery they use is up to date, and they are highly educated and motivated.”

In addition to Omega, TDA firms participating in Textile Career Day were Majestic Mills, Springs Industries, Pressman-Gutman, Brookwood Cos., JBJ Fabrics, Cranston Print Works, Lida Inc., Erlanger Blumgart, Nuance Textiles, Tandler Textiles, United Merchants & Manufacturers, WestPoint Stevens and Yarnell Fabrics Corp.

The TDA plans another career day April 21 at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York.

Bruce Roberts, executive director of the TDA, said his group is also talking with the Rhode Island School of Design about holding such an event there, probably next fall.

“We are also planning another Philadelphia event,” he said, but the date has not yet been established.

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