HATTIESBURG, MISS. - Nearly 1,000 high school freshmen throughout the Pine Belt packed the Forrest County Multi-Purpose Center. These students discussed their future plans with more than 50 exhibitors at the "Jumpstart to Success" career fair.
“I think this gives a good opportunity for students like myself and other students… to figure out what kind of careers they want to do,” freshmen at Forrest County Agriculture High School, Jason Garner said.
Area Development Partnership (ADP) hosted the event as a workforce improvement initiative.
“This is one of our K through 12 education initiatives. So, we're really focused on high school workforce development. That's a large focus and a keyword a lot of the time in economic development these days,” Daniel Jayroe, Community Development Director at the ADP said. “The growth of our development is to make sure they are ready to go straight into the workforce after they graduate from high school or go to a two-year or four-year college or university.”
The 4th annual career fair included more than 60 exhibits with 13 different career pathways, and it allowed students to experience hands-on activities for each career choice.
“Students love it,” Jayroe said. “Just earlier we were walking around, and I heard a student yell to a friend... ‘Hey, I found your future career. It's in interior design come see this exhibit.’ So, it's really gratifying and good to hear when students are actually findings careers that could impact their future while they are here.”
A student from North Forrest High School confirmed that the event helped her find direction.
“Well, the best thing about the event here is that it really helps you learn what you want to be in the future, and not be that lost when you go to college,” Angelic, North Forrest freshmen said.
Thursday's event included schools in Forrest, Lamar, and Perry counties.