TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Some local eighth and ninth graders had the chance to explore a potential career on Thursday. Hudson Valley Community College hosted 1,300 local students for the Career Jam event.

The program helps businesses organize hands-on activities to show students what it would be like to work in industries like construction, manufacturing, emergency response and more.

“We highlight here today at Hudson Valley Community College not only the skills from area employers but the pathways for them to get skills to get these really rewarding jobs that are needed in our community,” Career Jam cofounder Bill Teator said.

Organizers said exposing kids and teenagers to job opportunities in the Capital Region is crucial, especially as many industries continue to face staffing shortages.