MOBILE, Alabama – About 11,000 eighth-graders from Mobile and surrounding counties are learning about possible careers Wednesday and Thursday at the fourth-annual Worlds of Opportunity expo at the Civic Center in downtown Mobile.
“If you don’t know what career you’re going to do, then how are you going to get there,” said Tiffany Long of North Mobile K-8. “This is giving us examples of what we can do.”
Tiffany said she enjoyed talking to some of the Cumulus radio disc jockeys in the Communication World, one of 12 different worlds at the expo. She loves music and loves to talk, she said, so that’s a career she’s considering.
The other worlds are: Health Care, Hospitality and Tourism, Construction, Automotive Technology, Public Service, Shipbuilding and Repair, Energy, Aerospace, Engineering and Design, Safety and Manufacturing.
On Wednesday, students at the BASF chemical company exhibit made slime out of glue, food coloring and borax. Then, a few booths down at Austal, they tested to see how many coins they could float on a piece of aluminum in a tray full of water.
BAE System had students pumping air through pipes until they had enough to pop a balloon.
Physical therapists from the University of South Alabama let the students test their ability to stand on one leg and throw a ball. Nearby, students delivered a plastic baby from a mannequin in an activity that always garners several, “ewws,” and “yucks” from the crowd.
Students wrote their names in icing, loaded luggage on carts for a race and watched a chef from Virginia College make mayonnaise from scratch with vinegar, eggs and oil.
And there is so much more.
Adrian Houston, an eighth-grader at Scarborough Middle, said he was especially interested in the welding and in audio visual careers. He said he’s hoping to join the Air Force after graduating from high school.
“We’ve got to think about that now,” Adrian said, “so we don’t end up on the streets with nothing.”
Sergio Tanner, an eighth-grader at Cranford Burns, said he’s considering a career in either energy or aerospace.
The Worlds of Opportunity – put on by the Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council and others - “is cool.”
“I’m learning about all kinds of jobs,” Sergio said.
Larry Mouton, executive director of workforce development for Mobile County Public Schools, said he's heard this is the best Worlds of Opportunity yet. "This has been the most engaging and educational year so far," Mouton said. "the students seemed really prepared to engage the presenters with questions about career options."
Participants are asked to fill out a survey at: www.worldsofopportunity.org.
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