Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce / Fourth Annual Find Your Path Career Expo Mexico, Missouri
The Find Your Path Event began in 2018. It was masterminded by the Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce, Partners For Employment And Education Coalition (PEEC), and Mexico Public Schools as an opportunity to give students a more in-depth look at career opportunities and an idea of what the path to those jobs might look like. PEEC is a group of employers from Audrain County that gather several times a year to discuss workforce challenges and search for solutions. Currently, the biggest struggle the Mexico community faces regarding growing the economy are the need for a larger and more qualified workforce. Fortunately, community leaders and employers began working collectively in 2017 on problem-solving and the Find Your Path Event was one of the first steps.
The 2022 Expo was held on February 23rd at Mexico High School Sports Complex. All Mexico Public School students in grades 8th – 12th as well as Hart Career Center students from sending schools, Mexico Education Center, and JAG students (Jobs For America’s Graduates), toured the Find Your Path Event. A total of approximately 800 students toured the expo from 9:00 – 3:00.
Over the three-year event, there has been an average of 50 employers participating from the six career paths, with many career clusters within each path represented (see Path_Clusters_Pathways attachment). Each of the employers displayed tags for each of the career clusters they employ as well as signs indicating if they hire part-time or seasonal help and if they offer apprenticeships and internships. The success stories are numerous, and student and faculty feedback has been very favorable. Most evident is that the employers seem to know no boundaries when it comes to supporting, encouraging, and interesting students in career paths.
Other steps to strengthen the workforce include annual 9th-grade manufacturing tours, employability scores 6th – 12th grades, community-wide workshops, training, and certification with aha!