Some GPEDC updates to end your week:
CareerSpark WrapUp: Well, that was fun! After a two year hiatus as an in person event, CareerSpark was back at the Peoria Civic Center. About 4,200 eighth graders from over 60 public and private schools from Havana to Morton to Peoria came to downtown Peoria. There they were met by over 400 volunteers who helped them explore dozens of careers. Students got to learn about bricklaying, participate in a social media takeover, dye fabrics for dressmaking, learn hands only CPR, use a welding simulator and climb through public safety vehicles, just to name a few of the activities. (There is a really great video of two young men from a Peoria Public School learning about birthing calves from a pretty life-life simulator.) Some news coverage here.
I joked that CareerSpark is about 350 days of planning followed by 2 days of execution. This event – cited by the Illinois State Board of Education as a best practice – is another great example of collaboration. GPEDC partners with Junior Achievement to organize an amazing group of business leaders, sponsors and educators. The volunteers love it, the teachers love, and most importantly the students love it. CareerSpark is truly an all-hands-on-deck event, with everyone at GPEDC, including our interns, pitching in over the two days. But a special tip of the cap to Kari on our team for being such a big part of making this a success. Now back to planning.
GovTech: This week, Andrew moderated the “Shape and Sizes of Smart Cities” panel at the State of GovTech conference in Arlington, Virginia. He facilitated a lively discussion surrounding the practical considerations of how cities, counties and regions should think about the guiding principles of what it means to be a smart community, and in certain cases omitting the term “smart” from the conversation altogether as it could be an impediment to getting traction from key stakeholder groups. The panelists represented the City of Long Beach, California, City of Philadelphia and Fairfax County, Virginia. The conference also gave Andrew the opportunity to interact with smart city startups and innovators and tell them about Greater Peoria’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including Distillery Labs, Peoria NEXT and the Central Illinois Living Laboratory.
Strategy Reports: If it is the first week of the month, that means I made everyone write up their progress reports for our board meeting. But these reports aren’t just for the board. They are for anyone to read, particularly the investors in GPEDC. If you want to know how your investment is making a difference, check out the staff reports here.
Have a great weekend.