ADP Presents Jumpstart to Success

April 15, 2015


Sacred Heart High School student Christina Comino has a jump-start on many other students her age: She already knows she wants to pursue the medical field when she graduates.

On Wednesday, Comino got the chance to learn all about her chosen field, as she was one of about 1,000 students to attend the Area Development Partnership’s inaugural Jumpstart to Success event, held at the Forrest County Multi Purpose Center.

The event – which is part of the ADP’s Post Graduate Success Support Initiative – is designed to expose area ninth-graders to career opportunities in the region by showcasing local businesses, universities and community colleges in a collaborative atmosphere for each student.

“Somebody can come here today and identify something they’re interested in pursuing, and then tailoring their school and work around that,” said Valencia Williamson, ADP executive vice president. “It’s been received very well by the students, as well as the business community. I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Students from nine schools in Forrest, Lamar and Perry counties were able to interact with about 50 exhibitors, including the William Carey School of Nursing, The First – A National Banking Association, SuperTalk FM, GP Cellulose and South Mississippi Electric Power Association.

Almost every field imaginable was represented, including agriculture, natural resources, polymer science, manufacturing, education and information technology.

“We’re talking to them about careers in the electric utility industry, and the wide variety of opportunities available in our organization and the entire industry,” said Sara Peterson, corporate communication manager at SMEPA. “They’re having a lot of fun with the interactive portions of it, and it’s also opening their eyes to the different things that are available – engineers, attorneys, marketing, accounting and a variety of educational backgrounds.”

There was even a booth from the Forrest County Sheriff’s Department, where deputies put on a display with a K-9 named Iko to show students how the dog would apprehend a suspect and detect narcotics.

“They have loved it,” metro narcotics commander Phillip Hendricks said. “They didn’t expect to see anything as cool as somebody getting bit by a dog, so they’ve really reacted well. And I’ve had a blast. I did this before (at different events), and we have a good time every time.”

Comino’s favorite part of the expo was, of course, the health industry section, where she spent most of the day.

“I got to look at some exhibits about certain jobs in the field, which I find very interesting,” she said. “The nursing exhibit, that one was neat.”

For others, like Hattiesburg High School student Jerry Reed, the best part was a video game exhibit featuring the game Minecraft.

“That’s what I liked,” he said. “But I also got to learn about CPR, too.”
For more information:

-The Area Development Partnership held its inaugural Jumpstart to Success event Wednesday at the Forrest County Multi Purpose Center.

-The event, which is part of the ADP’s Post Graduate Success Support Initiative, featured about 1,000 students and 50 businesses and gave attendees the opportunity to learn about career opportunities available in the region.

-To learn more about the Post Graduate Success Support Initiative, visit or call Valencia Williamson at 296-7518.

Via Hattiesburg American