P2P Expo allows students to experience various careers, participate in hands-on activities

P2P Expo allows students to experience various careers, participate in hands-on activities

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Jason Belk, engineer, Pascagoula, talked with students about transmission line work.
Jason Belk, engineer, Pascagoula, talked with students about transmission line work.

Now in its sophomore year, Pathways2Possibilities continues to be an exciting experience for 8th-grade students in the six lower counties of Mississippi.

P2P is an interactive expo where students experience different career pathways and participate in hands-on activities.

Mississippi Power shared “The Pathway of Energy” with Coast Electric, Singing River Electric and Chevron. Company employees and volunteers guided students through activities and discussed their different careers and how their education applies to daily work.

Students were particularly interested in the transmission line display, and several donned gloves to work with an insulated fiberglass pole, known in the industry as a hot stick. “Most of the guys thought it looked easy, until they had to put the gloves on to do the work,” said Mississippi Power Engineer Jared Reeves.

“The games they play on Xbox help develop their hand-eye coordination and when you’re working with a live transmission line that skill is critically important,” said Jason Belk, engineer, Pascagoula Service Center.

This year’s P2P included a pilot program facilitated by the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District. After the 8th-graders headed back to school, approximately 200 nontraditional students attended the expo. Ranging in age from 16- to 24-year-olds, they attend Job Corps and vocational schools. Many of these students are working to attain their GED and develop soft skills. The District is the physical agent for the Workforce Investment Act and assists financially disadvantaged youths with getting and keeping jobs. In total, more than 6,500 students attended this year’s expo.

“We are excited about the tremendous turnout of students again this year. It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to experience different career fields.” said Community Development Representative Ann Holland. “Our employee volunteers say that talking with the students and seeing their enthusiasm is rewarding. And they wish they had something to attend like this when they were in the 8th grade.”

A student creates lightning with an electrostatic generator. (Vintage Radio Shack Lightning Fury)
A student creates lightning with an electrostatic generator. (Vintage Radio Shack Lightning Fury)