P2P opens career path doors for middle-school students

P2P opens career path doors for middle-school students

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Mississippi Power employees interacted with middle school students from across South Mississippi during the recent multi-day interactive career fair known as Pathways2Possibilities, or P2P, held at the Mississippi Coast Convention Center.

The fifth annual event serves as an opportunity for numerous area businesses to showcase potential job opportunities to more than 6,600 eighth-grade students from 32 schools across the service territory.

Company-related hands-on activities ranged from the BOO bubble chemistry activity, to the transmission team’s drone station, to the lineman simulation area.

“Each year, our employees volunteer their time and effort to reach out to these students,” said Ann Holland, Community Development representative. “The event gives us a chance to demonstrate the variety of career opportunities these students can pursue in the energy field. We’re making an impression on our future workforce and educating them on jobs in their communities that they can obtain.”

For Mississippi Power co-op student Edward Carranza, it’s a chance to use what he’s learned in the company’s Lighting Services department and pay-it-forward to the students attending P2P.

“In my time with the company, I’ve been able to take the theories I’m learning in college and see their real-world applications,” said Carranza, who’s currently an engineering student at Mississippi State University. “It’s the same thing for these students. I can still somewhat relate to their mindset, so I’m able to answer many of their questions on what courses to study, who to contact and how to get to this point.”

Across from Carranza’s area was the customer service booth, which featured company employees guiding students through a customer service role-playing exercise.

“One student plays the role of a representative, the other acts as a customer with an issue,” said Lauren Cuevas, a CSR at the company’s call center. “It gives them a quick peek into what we do every day. Some of the kids really got into their roles. One girl acted like she was crying because in the scenario, her electricity was cut off.”

Julius Hooks, Plant Daniel materials handler, took time out from the plant to help serve popcorn to students who could answer energy-related questions and help facilitate the always popular Green Machine energy-producing bicycle.

“It’s a great group of kids and they always ask very good questions about what I do at the plant,” said Hooks. “I enjoy talking to them and providing them knowledge from a different career avenue. We try to let them know that there are more job opportunities out there than they realize.”

Long Beach Middle School instructors Mary Woodruff and Lisa Starita looked on as some of the 230 students they brought to the event learned automotive diagnostic tips from company employees.

“This is a chance for them to understand that there are some career possibilities that they never thought about,” said Woodruff. “They always ask us why we study what we do, and P2P brings what we study to life. The interactive booths give them a snippet of reality.”

Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for nearly 187,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. Mississippi Power ranked first in the Southeastern Electric Exchange’s 2016 Safety Performance Reports and is consistently recognized as an industry leader in reliability, customer service and safety. Visit our websites at www.mississippipower.com and www.mississippipowernews.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on TwitterLinkedInGoogle+ and YouTube.