AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - Nearly 4,000 middle school students from all over eastern and central Alabama are beginning to think about their future career paths.
They found plenty of guidance during a massive career discovery expo at Auburn University's Beard-Eves Memorial Coliseum.
Event planners said they focused on eighth grade students because it is a critical time for students to begin thinking about their future. When they get to high school, they can select study areas within their chosen career paths.
Do what you love is great advice for anyone choosing a career path, but figuring out what you love can be tricky for eighth graders.
The First Annual Career Discovery Expo is dedicated to helping East Alabama students discover their passions and interests.
“We are entertaining eighth graders with careers, we are giving them a chance to see what they may like to have as a career, it could be a carpenter, an engineer, a media personality anything,” said Janet Ormund.
“By ninth grade they are beginning to lay out their career path so we want to get to them early and help them better position themselves when they move into high school,” added Alfred Davis with the East Alabama Workforce Development Center.
Highly interactive exhibits from hundreds of companies and collages allow students to see what it's like to work in various fields like the film industry.
“There is a boom in the movie industry in Alabama, yes especially with ‘Selma' just being released, there are a lot of movie investors and production companies interested, as in Mobile, and when you have movies you have jobs and that is what we are all about,” said Bobby Jon Drinkard with AIDT Project.
Some students have their minds made up, while others are still soul searching.
Whatever they choose, it's rewarding for exhibitors to know this week's expo may have shaped a student's life forever.
Students, teachers and their parents were given an overview of career opportunities in 11 different career clusters.
Agriculture, architecture, public service, communication, healthcare and manufacturing all represented at Tuesday's expo.
The event continues Wednesday, Feb. 18, and parents are also invited to come out and take a look.