Coast 8th graders will be given a chance to explore possible career fields at third annual expo

A career expo will be held at the Mississippi Coast Convention Center this November aimed at giving 8th graders along the Coast a better idea of a potential career choice.

Karen Sock, Pathways2Possibilities (P2P) co-coordinator, said the program is in the planning phase of its third annual Gulf Coast event scheduled for 8 a.m. Nov. 18-19 and the debut of a northeast Mississippi expo in Tupelo.

"The Mississippi State Legislature approved $100,000 for us to expand statewide after an incredibly successful two years," Sock said. "Sen. Brice Wiggins helped lead the effort to get extra funding for the expansion."

The P2P event is a program created out of the Jackson County Civic Action Committee and was started on the Coast three years ago, Sock said.

Sock said the Gulf Coast event averages about 6,000 students from public and private schools in the six lower counties.

"We invite 8th graders from every school in the region," she said. "Private school, public school, and home-schooled children are all welcome."

The event is coordinated through the schooling bodies and is of no charge to students, Sock said.

The P2P event will have 137 companies, 500 business professional volunteers, and 150 community volunteers for students to talk to about potential careers.

"Studies show 8th grade is the perfect age to begin thinking about a career path," Sock said. "Our event allows students to receive first-hand experience with business professionals in their desired field of interest."

Sock said each student will be given two hours to interact with professionals and to get involved with activities created to show what career fields have to offer.

"Those interested in something like welding will be able to actually get their hands dirty and work with accomplished welders," she said. "It's much more immersive than just handing the kids a pamphlet."