Worlds of Work

The City of Oxford proudly hosted our region’s largest career showcase event at the Oxford Civic Center March 12-14. Worlds of Work, also known as WOW, welcomed over 8,ooo 8th and 11th graders from seven counties throughout the three day period. The mission behind such a large scale event is to equip students with one more tool in their toolbox when it comes to deciding their future career path. They were given hands-on opportunities to try out different types of skilled trade careers which are highlighted in ten career ‘worlds’- Agriculture & Natural Resources, Automotive & Manufacturing, Communication and Media, Construction, Energy & Utilities, Engineering, Healthcare, Information Technology, Public Service, and Transportation.
Worlds of Work Committee leaders say they continue to see success in changing a sometimes negative career stereotype into a positive one as soon as the students, teachers, and parents have the opportunity to learn more about skilled trades. Most students and educators are surprised to learn that manufacturing requires a wide range of educational levels. Line workers, industrial maintenance technicians, robotics engineers, human resource specialists, accountants, welders, managers, quality control, plant operator, industrial engineers, and diesel mechanics are a small sampling of what types of career can be held within our manufacturing industries. In order for that industry to operate successfully, they need employees with a high school diploma, career technical skills, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, and/or a master’s degree. In no way should anyone feel that it must be one or the other. It can be both!
This year a new portion was added to Worlds of Work- WOW Connected. Taking place on the afternoon of March 13 between 2 and 5pm, WOW Connected created an opportunity for everyone to ‘connect’ our future workforce to existing opportunities. Parents, students, and educators, as well as the general public, had an opportunity to explore each career world spread across the Civic Center’s campus while visiting with employers, recruiters and career coaches, ‘connecting’ success for everyone. Throughout the first two days of WOW, committee co-chairs for WOW Connected Lorie Denton with the Calhoun County EDC and Jacki Lowry with Alabama Power, used the power of social media to take the public on live tours of the career worlds to draw the community in for the event. Those who took advantage of the opportunity were able to learn more about the endless opportunities for high paying, local jobs, and how to make sure they were on the correct pathway to open those doors. The feedback from those industries participating said they were very pleased with the turnout and felt like they had genuine conversations with those interested in pursuing a career with their companies. Many came with resumes in hand, leaving with an interview on their calendar.
Also part of this event is the annual VIP breakfast held on the Civic Center grounds. This year attendees heard from guest speakers Tommy Glasscock, assistant state Superintendent of Education in the Career and Technical Education and Workforce Development Division and Oxford’s Mayor Alton Craft. Each spoke to the business leaders, superintendents, and elected officials in attendance about the importance of spreading the word about skilled trade and career technical careers. Mayor Craft echoed his former boss and Oxford Mayor Leon Smith, calling the people of Oxford ‘remarkable’ for seeing this event as a need to continue Oxford’s industrial growth.