Engage, educate and empower is the goal of the Pathways 2 Possibilities (P2P) Career Expo. P2P South Carolina is an interactive, hands-on career expo designed to help 8th graders and at-risk youth, ages 16-24, link their passions to a paycheck. Each student spends two hours exploring the pathways, along with the educators and chaperones where professionals from 19 career pathways engage the students with hands-on activities in their various fields, while also sharing what life is like in their jobs and the training and education that’s required. (pathways-2-possibilities-career-expo)
This year, the Myrtle Beach Convention Center is going to host 7,000 8th graders from seven counties around the Myrtle Beach area: Georgetown, Horry, Williamsburg, Florence, Dillon, Marlboro and Marion. The 19 Career Pathways are designed to be relevant in the 21st century such as:
Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
Architecture & Construction
Arts, A/V Technology & Communication
Business Management & Administration
Education & Training
Engineering & Polymer Science
Government & Public Relations
Hospitality & Tourism
Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
Transportation, Distribution & Logistics
Initially, P2P began in Biloxi, Mississippi in November 2013. Members of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Education Issue Manager Group heard about an exciting career expo for 8th graders in Mobile, Alabama called the Worlds of Opportunity and decided to research it. The Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council (SAWDC), hosts of the event, was glad to meet with the visitors from Mississippi in 2011.
After brainstorming with the SAWDC, the group decided to create their own version of the career expo by including employers and educators from the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast. Diann Payne, Committee member and Jackson County Civic Action Committee Executive Director, stepped up to organize the project.
Using funds from America’s Promise Alliance, Diann contracted Paige Roberts and Karen Sock to coordinate the two-day career expo, and the P2P debuted on November 13-14, 2013. It covered “133,000 square foot convention floor with 19 Pathways offering activities for 6,000 8th graders, followed by few dozen at-risk youth, ages 16-24. P2P has shown how powerful an effort can be when the public, private and nonprofit sectors join forces in the name of education, workforce development and economic development.” (pathways2possibilities)
Karen and Paige believed the success of P2P on the Gulf Coast could be recreated in other communities. First in Tupelo for students in seven Northeast Mississippi counties at the Bancorp South Arena in Tupelo on October 6-7, 2015 for 3,300 students. Next, they hosted the P2P Delta on April 6-7, 2016 for 2,200 8th Graders from 12 Northwest Mississippi counties.
The P2P continued to grow its outreach and spread as all good ideas in education do. This year, there will be a Pathways 2 Possibilities Career Expo at Myrtle Beach Convention Center on February 20 & 21, 2019 hosting students from seven nearby counties. It will likely be one of the best career day ideas for middle school and at-risk students, ages 16-24.