SMITHFIELD, NC - Johnston County Public Schools (JCPS) eighth grade students attended the JOCO WORKS 2023 Career Expo at Johnston Community College (JCC) November 2-3.
Approximately 3,500 eighth-grade students had the opportunity to connect with more than 40 local industries, including Grifols, Caterpillar, and event sponsor, Novo Nordisk.
Through hands-on experiences, JOCO WORKS is a groundbreaking initiative that is transforming the way JCPS eighth graders in Johnston County explore future careers. For students that already had a career path in mind, they received in-depth exposure into their desired field.
JCPS Career and Technical Education (CTE) students can take courses relating to many of the featured careers at JOCO WORKS while in high school through their school’s CTE programs.
Additionally, the future generation of the work force received information on career pathways that included sample occupations, general education requirements, and average salaries within each industry.
“Our vision is to expose students to a variety of career options as they transition from middle school to high school. Eighth grade is a critical time for students,” Career and Technical Education (CTE) Workforce Development Specialist Kathryn Farrior stated. “We want them to make informed, intentional choices about their high school experience and understand how the decisions they make now will impact their post-graduation plans."
The event included industries such as: biotechnology, manufacturing, construction, hospitality, and tourism, to name a few. By simulating real world careers, JOCO WORKS is an excellent opportunity for these students to explore careers they may have never even thought about before entering high school. JCC reminded students of the educational options available there as well, including associate degree programs.
Launched in 2019, JOCO WORKS is an innovative, industry-led, collaboration between Triangle East Chamber of Commerce, Johnston Community College (JCC), Johnston County Public Schools (JCPS), Benson Chamber of Commerce, Clayton Chamber of Commerce, government, and various business leaders to meet the growing needs of the workforce in Johnston County.
"Rarely do you find an event of this magnitude that combines the efforts of local academic, workforce, and chamber partners,” remarked Farrior.