College and Career Expo draws large crowd

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Some wanted to learn about colleges and the programs they offer.

"We can send you more information about Mississippi State," one college recruiter told a group of interested students.

Others were more interested in earning a pay check.

"I think they're starting $16 an hour," another recruiter told a student who wanted information about an apprenticeship program.

And then there were students who felt confused about their goals after graduation.

"I'm just looking around, trying to figure out what school I want to go to and what I want to major in," said Vancleave High Senior Dylan Black.

More than 1,500 enthusiastic high school juniors and seniors spent Monday morning learning about all sorts of educational and job opportunities at the Mississippi Gulf Coast College and Career Expo at the Coast Coliseum Convention Center in Biloxi.

"By having the lending institutions out here, as well as colleges here, they can be very creative in coming up with money and finding ways to help these students find money they need to go to college," said Libby White, President of the Gulf Coast Counselor's Association.

The group sponsored the expo, bringing in 70 exhibitors.  Representatives came from regional colleges, the military and large corporations like Northrop Grumman. It was a one stop-shop for students who are preparing for life after high school.

"It's real nice," said Valerie Leggins, a recruiter for Northrop Grumman. "We don't get to talk to this many people if we try to go to every school."

"We found out a lot about the financial situation, about financial aid, and we found out the most important question, 'Can freshmen drive their cars to school?'" said Moss Point High Junior Mariah Wells.

Students also learned they don't have to move too far to fulfill their dreams.

"We want them to start out here and stay here. Be close to home and still have good high paying jobs," said Larkin Simpson of the Hancock County Development Commission.  "We have entry level jobs, which take very little training."

There was a separate session in the afternoon just for college students.  It focused on financial aid for students who need money to finish their education and job opportunities once they graduate.

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