SCOTTSBORO, Ala. - It's that time of year again for the Jackson County Career Exploration Fair -- or CEO. It's a hands on experience for 9th graders around the county, just to get their gears going about what they can do after graduation.
The Scottsboro fairgrounds held 40 different careers to allow 9th graders around Jackson County the chance to check out potential career opportunities for after college. The goal is "to help get kids into more of a physical labor type skill trade," explained Cole Warr, a participating student.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 7.8 million Americans are unemployed yet 5.8 million jobs are not filled. Employers are demanding more job-ready employees, so it's important students get prepared.
Cole Warr is a Jackson County senior who says he's all set with a career in welding, but he wants to help his peers. "I enjoy just working with fresh hands and seeing people eager to get a job."
From welding to engineering and even hands-only CPR, the younger the kids are, the better it is to get them exposed to these different career opportunities.
Jordan Cain graduated from Skyline School in 2012, and it was important for him to come back to the CEO Fair to give back to students in his community. "What we do is take 10th thru 12th grade students and we show them entry level things about precision machining," he explained.
Cain said that without programs like these that introduced him in the 9th grade, he doesn't know where he'd be. "If someone wasn't here to be honest and upfront with me when I was in the 9th grade, I would have never learned about the opportunities and Lord knows what I'd be doing."
This year, around 700 9th grade students participated in the job fair.