Some Paulding County students got a glimpse at some possible future jobs they could do using knowledge now available to them in their schools.

More than 650 middle and high school students attended the fourth annual Paulding County School District STEM Expo recently at Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport in west Paulding County, said organizer Marores Perry, the county schools’ director of Career, Technical and Agricultural Education.

However, Perry said not all the companies and government agencies represented at the expo were related to skills learned through STEM courses.

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math.

“While the purpose was to try to expose the kids to future careers, they were not necessarily STEM careers,” Perry said.

She said organizers of the event wanted to vary their usual lineup of STEM-related vendors.

“We started thinking outside the box,” Perry said. “The more options we give the kids, the better.”

Students from all five high schools, the new College and Career Academy and Ritch and Scoggins middle schools attended the event, she said.

“It was an eye-opening experience for the students, and hopefully the STEM Expo will help inspire more than a few of them to careers in STEM-related fields,” the district’s Facebook page stated.

The event allowed students to talk to “actual people in the field” rather than only seeing textbook descriptions of each employment area represented, Perry said.

Vendors came to demonstrate and display their products and tools of their trade, Perry said.

They ranged from private entities like Delta Tech Ops, which is the maintenance, repair and overhaul division of Delta Air Lines; to the Paulding and Douglas counties’ sheriff’s offices, Perry said.

For example, the Douglas County CSI Team showed students how police investigators lift fingerprints for identification of crime suspects, she said.

Others demonstrated welding techniques and the mechanics of engines and machines they repair and maintain.

She said some vendors could offer jobs which offer on-the-job training rather than requiring post-high school education, she said.

Perry said individual school administrators chose the students who attended the event. This year organizers included middle school students among the attendees to expose students as young as 11 to potential future opportunities, Perry said.

Some of the vendors who attended represented the Clorox Co. and UGA; Paulding County Sheriff’s Office; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; GreyStone Power; Chattahoochee Technical College’s HVAC and welding programs; the University of North Georgia; Retrospective Hair Salon; Cobb EMC, FROST Airshow Safety Services; Kennesaw State University, Paulding County Fire Department; Floyd Imaging Services; Top Flight Aerostructures; Keep Paulding Beautiful; Metromont; Delta Airlines; WellStar Health Systems; R&L Carriers; Yancey Brothers Co.; and the Marine Corps, Air Force, Army and Georgia National Guard.

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