By Dawson Wood and Andrew Goodman
The Future Ready Expo was a huge success for Hamblen County Jan. 15. With over 1,500 eighth grade students attending, the event lasted over six hours. Exhibitors were able to share career fields that could help students choose their path in high school and college. It can even prepare them for their future.
The Future Ready Expo held its first event in early 2019 and brought in over 800 students. According to CTE Director Chuck Carter, “The Future Ready Expo or FRE was created to provide a look into career options that are available in our region and also to see how a student can best prepare themselves through our Career and Technical Education programs of study in high school.”
According to Carter, there were around 100 interactive exhibits available for students from Hamblen and Jefferson counties along with Lakeway Christian Academy. These exhibits were broken up into four sectors which included Advanced Manufacturing, Health and Public Services, Business & IT, and Retail and Trade. Some exhibits Carter listed were a “...VR Paint Booth from TCAT, SWAT team gear for students to try on, Lowland Credit Union had students totaling up checks for a deposit, and a welding simulator.” The theme for this year was “Futures So Bright” based of a 1980's pop hit "The Future's So Bright, I gotta wear shades!” Each student received a free pair of sunglasses with “#FutureSoBright” embossed on the frame.
For 2021, Future Ready has already began planning and expects to bring in more counties including Cocke, Grainger, Greene, Hancock, and Hawkins counties. They are also planning on bringing in more exhibitors. According to Carter, Future Ready Expo 2021 has been scheduled for Jan. 13, 2021. If one has any questions or would like to participate in Future Ready Expo 2021 visit http://www.futurereadyexpo.com/ for more information.