Imagine the Possibilities file #1

In this file photo from October 2020, a North Mississippi student participates in the advanced manufacturing pathway as part of CREATE's Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo.

TUPELO • For the second year in a row, the Toyota Wellspring Education Fund (TWEF) at the CREATE Foundation will give students the opportunity to learn about potential career pathways online through its virtual career expo experience.

The Imagine the Possibilities (ItP) career expo, which launches Friday, Oct. 1, allows middle and high school students across Northeast Mississippi to learn about 18 different career pathways.

Students will also have the opportunity to complete the YouScience assessment, which provides insights into their individual interests and aptitudes.

Tenth grade students are the target population for the ItP virtual experience. The program is designed to expose them to career options that might lead them to job shadowing or internship opportunities. The TWEF also hopes to provide students an avenue to explore pathways early so they can enroll in high school courses related to their selected pathways.

Greg Pirkle, TWEF committee member, said he sees the expo as an authentic engagement opportunity that is a direct partnership between our schools and community.

"Every employer in our area has the opportunity to engage in the virtual experience through employees filming mentor for a minute videos," Pirkle said in a press release. "What can we do today to help grow our own workforce through sharing information about potential careers?"

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A leaderboard for tenth grade students will allow them to see their point progression and compare their progress with other students across the region and their specific school. ItP sponsors will provide Apple products as prizes this year for the top tenth grade students. 

The Imagine the Possibilities career expo's virtual resources can be accessed at itpcareerexpo.com and via the Imagine the Possibilities app on Apple and Android.

After creating an account, students and parents can then access information on all 18 career pathways. Each pathway includes a pathway overview video, pathway resources, “day in the life” videos, mentor for a minute clips and a podcast.

Stewart McMillan, the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo Coordinator, hopes there will be greater participation this year expo. She challenges community members to ask high school students they interact with about their YouScience results and career aspirations.

"In order to highlight the importance of this work, our community members can share the value by engaging with our students," McMillan said. "Our team is also working on ways we can expand this experience to involve employers and strengthen connections between our business and industry partners and schools to create a win-win experience related to talent pipeline development."

Major sponsors for the expo include the Toyota Wellspring Education Fund, CREATE Foundation, Toyota Mississippi, The People’s Bank of Ripley, North Mississippi Health Services, Caterpillar, Mississippi State University, Franklin Corporation, Renasant Bank, Ross & Yerger, The University of Mississippi, and BNA Bank. In addition to the major sponsors, there are an additional 27 sponsors from around the region.

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