Area Career Tech students get hands-on at Exploration Fair

Published 11:00 am Saturday, December 16, 2023

Area high school students recently attended the first annual Lincoln County School District Career Exploration Fair.

On Monday, Dec. 11, students from Lincoln County schools, as well as the Brookhaven School District and Franklin County School District, spent the school day at the Lincoln Civic Center.

During morning and afternoon rotations, students networked with representatives from nine industry sectors including technical schools (Copiah-Lincoln Community College and Universal Technical Institute), welding, fabrication, and manufacturing (AITX, Fabricated Pipe, K&S Industrial Services, Hitachi Energy/Manufacturing), forestry (Mississippi Loggers Association, Rex Lumber), automotive, heavy equipment and farm machinery (Toyota of Brookhaven, Empire/Stribling, Farm Belt, Mike Whatley Honda, Puckett Machinery), energy (Entergy, Magnolia Electric,  Southwest Electric), distribution (Tractor Supply Company), military branches (Mississippi Army/National Guard, Marines), apprenticeships (Day & Zimmerman, Ironworkers Local 623, IUOE Operating Engineers Local 624 Training Program, Plumbers & Pipefitters Local Union 619), and banks (Bank of Brookhaven, Bank Plus, First Bank, Pike National Bank).

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Students at each booth listened to presentations and learned about career opportunities, employment requirements, and basic operations for each industry. They completed industry-related hands-on activities and several industries brought machinery and heavy equipment for the students to view. Students were given “industry passports” upon arrival to navigate the representatives set up inside and outside of the Civic Center.  Students spent quality time with industry contacts and walked away with a better understanding of what career and technical industries have to offer.

“In the world of education, we toss the phrase ‘College and Career Ready’ around very loosely,” said Robin Case, Lincoln County School District’s Career Technical Education/Federal Programs Director. “Overall, the implication has been that everyone needs to attend college. While that is a path that should be promoted, encouraged and facilitated by educators for students pursuing careers which require advanced academia, we must also recognize the needs of our students who are truly driven by CTE careers. Recent workforce needs assessments indicate that for our local area, business and industry will need many more employees in the workforce with various CTE skills. This Career Exploration Fair is our first step toward leveling the playing field of information and opportunity for all our students.”

Case expressed thanks to Janie’s Bakery and The Donut Palace for providing breakfast, and four area banks — Bank of Brookhaven, Bank of Franklin, Bank Plus, and First Bank — for providing a catered lunch from Taste and See Cakes & Catering.