Thousands of students from Mobile County Public Schools and surrounding systems and private schools converged on the Mobile Civic Center this week to learn about many of the jobs and career fields available in our area at the seventh annual Worlds of Opportunity.
Sponsored by the Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council and supported by MCPSS’ Career and Technical Education department, the event brings scores of local business and industry partners together within 11 different career “worlds” at the Civic Center to give eighth-graders from throughout Mobile, Baldwin and surrounding counties exposure to careers they might want to begin preparing for as they enter high school.
“Eighth grade is the most important year in creating a career pathway,” said Larry Mouton, MCPSS Assistant Superintendent for Workforce Development. “When you get into high school, you have to be prepared to hit the ground running in the ninth grade and take the right classes. … It’s very competitive out there. We want the kids in our region to be prepared, starting in eighth grade and going into ninth grade, and to develop relationships with these business partners so these guys know these kids’ names and these kids know how to get one of these great jobs available in our region.”
On hand were everything from shipbuilders and aviation companies to utilities companies, construction and engineering firms to colleges and training centers to public service entities.
Capt. Dwight Smith with Mobile Fire-Rescue and his colleagues were showing students how to do CPR. “Probably 80 to 85 percent of our runs are medical,” Smith said. “It’s more than just being a firefighter. We have inspectors, we have investigators, we have people who work in EMS, so we have a lot of different job qualifications.”
Kristi July, Signature Academy Coorindator, said the Worlds of Opportunity event gives MCPSS eighth-graders a sneak peek at many careers for which they can begin preparing themselves in a high school Signature Academy. Several of the exhibitors at the WOO event are also partners with MCPSS’ Signature Academies.
“Eighth-graders come and visit Worlds of Opportunity and see what’s available, and right after this they will visit our Showcase for our 12 high schools to see the career academies that are offered there that are directly tied and linked to what they’ll see here at WOO,” July said.
MCPSS’ Signature Academy Showcase will be held Oct. 24 at the Mitchell Center.