A few updates to end your week:
CareerSpark 2023: Last week ended with one of the biggest workforce development programs of the year – CareerSpark. This was the 7th annual event – which delivers hands-on simulation of careers across multiple industries to 8th graders with the goal of sparking that interest and helping create a pathway of electives and learning for their high school years. CareerSpark is a partnership between Junior Achievement of Central Illinois and GPEDC, and designed to help educators meet Illinois State Board of Education career exploration requirements (called the PACE Framework) at no cost. The program is greatly appreciated and well received across the region and beyond by students and educators as a great environment for kids to learn about the work they can do in the future. This year we had over 4,000 students and over 500 volunteers to make this one of the largest CareerSpark events yet. My thanks to Junior Achievement for being such a great partner over these past seven years and all the volunteers that made the day possible. We now shift into “You’re Hired,” our digital job fair for high school students that is offered in the spring. And planning for the 8th annual CareerSpark is not far behind.
Discover Manufacturing: Speaking of career exploration, to help kick off Manufacturing Month, our local Strategic Manufacturing Group (SMG) held the 15th Annual Discover Manufacturing Career Expo on Monday and Tuesday of this week. This annual event aims to introduce students to careers in the manufacturing industry. This year over 400 high school kids toured facilities at Morton Industries, Komatsu, BTD and Caterpillar, and had an informative tour of the Agricultural and Industrial Technology facilities at Illinois Central College. GPEDC staffers helped lend a hand to make the event a success. David assisted the SMG with pre-event marketing, including promotion, emails, and media coordination. He also took part in the Morton Industries tour, assisting with media activities. Coverage of the event is available on WMBD. Meanwhile, Jeffrey was at Komatsu, touring the facility with students from Elmwood HS, Metamora HS, and Manual Academy, having a great time learning about jobs at the company – required experience, pay, and benefits. It was great seeing the students get excited about the opportunities ahead of them.
Quarterly Board Meeting: It was great to see the GPEDC Board of Directors gather for our quarterly meeting this week. We had great presentations from Alexandre Chequim of DigiFarmz, the Brazilian AgTech startup moving to Peoria, and Doug Cruitt of Distillery Labs. Staff also highlighted the work accomplished over the previous quarter and looked ahead to the final three months of the year. You can see the presentations here.
Strategy Reports: And if we had a board meeting, that means we also produced written reports to capture all the great work the GPEDC team does. You can find those here. If you are an investor in GPEDC, this is the work your dollars support. Thank you for your investment.
Hey, the Bears won a game, so things are looking up! Have a great weekend.