Students attend SOVA Career Choice Expo to help plan their future

Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 4:51 PM EDT
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PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Employers in southern Virginia are educating students about their careers.

Students got out of the classroom Thursday to attend the SOVA Career Choice Youth Expo at the Olde Dominion Agriculture Complex in Chatham.

More than 3,000 students from Martinsville, Danville, Pittsylvania County, Halifax County, Henry County, and Patrick County attended the Expo to learn about the available career options in the area.

“Coming to events like this really expands their knowledge of what is a potential in their future. If they haven’t met, say, a civil engineer, they don’t know what that is or what they do. They might really be interested if they learned about it. So, this is all about career exposure for the students,” said Jessie Vernon, Program Manager for the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.

Pittsylvania County Public Safety was there to educate the students but also encourage them to volunteer.

“A lot of them do not know what the Fire and EMS service offers or about the training or the requirements. So, out here giving them hands on with the equipment, we are seeing a lot of interest,” explained Kasey Seay, Division Chief of Public Safety.

Around 60 employers were there to give interactive and hands-on experiences to the students.

“This is really, our opportunity to build our talent pipeline,” added Vernon. “It’s not an immediate recruitment opportunity because none of these students are even seniors yet. But, if they come here and they have a really great engaging experience with an employer, that sticks with students. So, those students remember who they interacted with and will come to them for internships and jobs in the future.”

Mylie Dillion, a 10th grader from Tunstall High School, was one of those students who is now more excited to go into social work than before going to the Expo.

“You get to speak with people that actually do it for a living, and you get to hear from their experiences,” said Dillion.

Each student was also given a take-home bag with a booklet explaining each career in more detail.