NEOSHO, Mo. — There are hundreds of job openings throughout the Joplin area right now in manufacturing alone. But not every high school student nearing graduation knows about that, or much about the employers offering the jobs. Not every high school senior in the Four State area will opt for college next fall. Some of them will want to start working right away or go into a field that doesn’t require a two or four-year degree. Several area employers would love to help them do that.

“Oh they need people as quickly as they can get them and really they have all kinds of positions available, whether it be skilled, fresh out of high school, college, they have openings for all kinds of positions,” said Amy Kauffman, MoKan Partnership.

That’s the whole purpose behind the annual Advanced Manufacturing Expo held in Neosho. The event brought together several area employers under one roof, the Newton County Fairground Building, to showcase their advanced technology, processes, and automation employment opportunities.

Austin Craig was very impressed by what he saw.

“Aw I think it’s really cool because it offers opportunities for people that don’t really know what they’re doing, and like there’s all sorts of stuff here, there’s like food, there’s manufacturing, there’s welding like there’s everything here, it’s an awesome experience,” said Austin Craig, Riverton High School Sophomore.

“Our batteries, obviously, are not on a shelf somewhere, so when they find out that we have batteries up on Mars, that we power rockets, we power defense equipment, we power military vests and such, they get very excited,” said Jane Southwick, Human Resources, Eagle-Picher Technologies.

“I would not have known about a good amount of these, so I’m glad I came,” said A.J. Buschnell, Riverton High School Senior.