Approximately 3,800 students were actively engaged in career exploration at the Career Choice SOVA Youth Expo. Middle and high school students from the counties of Patrick, Henry, Pittsylvania, and Halifax, and along with the cities of Martinsville and Danville participated.

“Virginia students are required to complete a career plan by the beginning of eighth grade and they revise the plan in ninth and eleventh grades. The Expo provides career exposure at critical points during a student’s academic pathway. Our hope is that students recognize that there are high-skill high-wage jobs available in their own backyard,” said IALR Director of Advanced Learning Julie Brown, PhD.

Prior to the Expo, IALR staff met with participating students to provide an overview of what to expect at the Career Expo and review the 16 Career Clusters representing more than 79 Career Pathways. Over 60 regional employers and almost 400 volunteers setup interactive displays for students to gain a better understanding of careers in Southern Virginia. 

“There are unfilled jobs here in the Commonwealth of Virginia and across the country because companies are struggling to find employees with the necessary skills. The Career Expo is an opportunity for us to highlight the careers available in our region and inform students about the education, skills, & training necessary to be successful in these fields.” said Jessie Vernon, IALR Advanced Learning Program Coordinator.

To view more photos from the Career Choice Expo, visit our Flickr album.

Teacher Chris Castaldo demonstrates the power of static electricity when Bassett High School students touch him.

District conservationist Trenton Howell explains what to look for when Martinsville 7th grader, Ricky Ferguson, looks through the surveyor lens.