Getting six thousand eighth graders to think constructively about their professional adulthood may be a tall task, but that’s what Pathways2Possibilities, which recently hosted an interactive career expo in Myrtle Beach, takes on with aplomb.
Pathways2Possibilities has its roots in South Mississippi as a hands-on, interactive career expo for 8th graders and at-risk youth ages 16-24, and in Myrtle Beach the organization offered 19 career paths, including a health sciences pathway organized by Tidelands Health and in partnership with the South Carolina Hospital Association.
The central premise is simple—instead of a convention center hall of generic booths with an endless array of flyers and brochures, students are free to bounce around amid a host of activities, from simulating lifesaving CPR techniques to examining lab samples with microscopes. The idea is to think about these careers in an active, exciting way, rather than something static and distant.
“This has so much potential,” Jan Harper, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Tidelands Health, said as the two-day event kicked off. “For many students, this is the first time they are exposed to what they are seeing. Success will be lightbulbs going on for some of these kids. We hope they will see a hint of something that piques their interest. It could manifest itself into a career at some point.”
Over forty Tidelands Health team members from eight departments, including orthopedics, respiratory, laboratory services and driver rehabilitation, took part in the expo in what the health system says is a concerted effort to grow the next generation of healthcare workers in the coastal region.
“A lot of these kids are seeing jobs they never even knew were out there,” said Alyx Prather, student program coordinator at Tidelands Health. “They think ‘nurse’ or ‘doctor’ but there are orthopedic surgeons, trauma doctors, microbiologists in the lab. Many of these kids don’t know those opportunities are out there.”
Like Tidelands Health, the South Carolina Hospital Association believes in the importance of reaching students early to introduce them to the wide variety and possibilities that exist in the healthcare field. For more information on these efforts, check out our Be Something Amazing campaign here.