MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Hundreds of middle school students in Blount County got their eyes opened during the fifth annual Blount County Career Exploration Fair.

Blount Partnership teamed up with 50-plus employers from all industries to host the event. Then they invited students from Maryville City, Alcoa City and Blount County School Districts to give these kids a chance to explore the possible career paths in their future.

“Everything is a hands-on activity, so students get to spend some time learning about careers,” said Jessica Belitz, director of Blount Partnership Workforce Development. “It really helps them start looking at what their interests might be and then when they go into 9th grade they may want to take a career and technical education class so this gives them the idea hey I really enjoyed working with the construction industry today maybe I want to take one of those classes.”

Some of the hands-on experiences include playing Operation with Blount Memorial, testing out robots from Denso and making pies with the Blackberry Farms culinary team.

The event is meant to be fun and aimed at helping kids plan ahead four years before graduation. Around 1,600 students attended the event.