On October 8th and 9th, the 3rd annual CareerSpark Expo was organized in which over 4,600 eighth grade students from across nine countries across the region came to the Peoria Civic Center. The Greater Peoria Economic Development Council and Junior Achievement of Central Illinois collaborated to provide this incredible event free of charge to regional schools.
The collaboration was possible through the support of PNC Bank, Bayer, the Illinois Manufacturing Association, Union Pacific, and the Peoria Civic Center. Brian Ray, regional president at PNC Bank says “One of the core philanthropic missions at PNC is to support educational programs for youth in our community. As we believe that every student deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential, events such as CareerSpark can really open the eyes of our local children to a host of traditional and non-traditional pathways for their future.”
The students were able to explore over 90 careers through the event. Over 100 unique industry partners belonging to Healthcare, Agriculture, Construction, Business/Finance, Government and Public Safety, Arts, and Information Technology, and Engineering/Manufacturing provided these activities.
President and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, Mark Denzler said: “Manufacturers in the Greater Peoria area have long known the importance of making young people aware of the wide array of career opportunities available in manufacturing.” CareerSpark provides an excellent opportunity for the students to have a hands-on look into careers that they may have never known existed.
Brent Baker, Director of Workforce Solutions at the GPEDC says “We know that students in middle school are making decisions about careers, most specifically what careers they don’t want to pursue, CareerSpark provides an opportunity to explore and begin making more informed decisions as they look toward high school”