HCS Eighth Graders Attend Career Expo
March 6, 2023
The Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation presented the Pathways to Possibilities South Carolina (P2PSC) Career Expo at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center on February 22–23, 2023. Students from public and private schools in 10 counties around the Waccamaw and Pee Dee regions participated in this year’s experience, including eighth graders from every HCS middle school. This is the fifth year the Bunnelle Foundation has presented the career expo.
The P2PSC Career Expo is part of the Bunnelle Foundation’s Cradle 2 Career initiative, whose mission is to ensure young people have the character, competencies, creativity, and motivations required for both traditional and new economy jobs. This initiative creates a partnership between businesses and educators to help students transition from school to the workforce. The Bunnelle Foundation’s version of the Pathways to Possibilities Career Expo is based on a similar event by the same name founded in Mississippi in 2013.
At this year’s P2PSC Career Expo, professionals engaged eighth graders in hands-on activities related to their various fields while sharing what life is like in their jobs. They also shared information about the training and education required for their industry.
The professionals represented 19 different career pathways: aerospace; agriculture, food, & natural resources; architecture & construction; arts, A/V technology, & communications; business management; education & training; energy; engineering; finance; government & public administration; health sciences; hospitality & tourism; human services; information technology; law & public safety; manufacturing; marine science; marketing; and transportation, distribution, & logistics.
Businesses and organizations were grouped around the convention center’s exhibit hall based on the career pathway they represented. Each area had signs providing information about the kinds of jobs available in that pathway, the education requirements for those jobs, and annual salary range expectations.
For example, the aerospace pathway had representatives from Boeing, the Celebrate Freedom Foundation, and the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics. They talked to students about jobs that required various education levels. Jobs requiring only a high school diploma included sheet metal fabricators and production machine operators. Mechanical engineering technicians require an associate degree. Meanwhile, aerospace engineers, quality engineers, and business unit leaders need a four-year degree. A helicopter and a military scout drone were on display nearby, and the professionals there had activities that students could participate in to learn more about the industry and the skills they would need.
Across the exhibit hall in the energy pathway area, Horry Georgetown Technical College had displays about electrical engineering, including a small robot that would race around the table by following a line on a piece of paper. Nearby, Santee Cooper displayed the top of a telephone pole, and their representatives showed students what it was like to be a line maintenance technician.
In all, students from 41 different South Carolina middle schools interacted with representatives from over 80 different businesses, colleges, and organizations from around the region, including Tidelands Health, the City of Myrtle Beach, the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors, Clemson University, Coastal Carolina University, and many, many more.
Horry County Schools would like to thank the Bunnelle Foundation for presenting such a wonderful opportunity for our students, the numerous volunteers who helped bring the event to life, and the many area businesses and organizations that sent representatives to invest in our students’ futures.