Nearly 1,000 Students Attend the Sixth Annual Discover Manufacturing Career Expo

Every year since 2008, local manufacturers, organizations and educational institutions collaborate to provide high school students with unforgettable manufacturing experiences. The Discover Manufacturing Career Expo has been a great success in the past, and the Strategic Manufacturing Group of Workforce Alliance CI continued the tradition of educating our youth about career opportunities in manufacturing again this year. In response to expanded student participation, local manufacturing plant tours and a career exposition were scheduled for two

days to enhance the student’s ability to easily interact with employees and exhibitors. Each day there were roughly 500 high school student attendees from a combined 30+ area schools.

The Expo, or “DMCE,” is a daylong field trip designed to expose students to potential job pathways and the skills needed to successfully enter the world of manufacturing in Central Illinois. After touring Caterpillar (East Peoria), Excel Foundry & Machine (Pekin), Parsons Company (Roanoke) or Premier Fabrication (Congerville), the

students gathered at Woodruff Career and Technical Center for lunch, an in-depth and hands-on career expo featuring dozens of local manufacturers, higher education institutions, industry associations and a presentation on personal development. This year, more than 20 local manufacturing companies, organizations and higher

educational institutions exhibited at the Expo and sponsored by dozens more. The show floor was full of 3-D printers, welding simulators, ball throwing robots and much more with which students could interact. What’s more, the students were able to hear directly from young adults who have already made the choice to begin a career

in manufacturing.

Following the expo, the students received a special presentation on “Soft Skills” from two of Central Illinois’ most prominent speakers and student motivators: Heather Robertson, founder of Flight School, and Carl Cannon, Program Supervisor with ELITE Youth Outreach.

Over the years, manufacturing has developed an unfortunate negative image as a dirty, dead-end, repetitive and mundane career. This Expo resoundly challenges that perception by educating Central Illinois’ students and educators about the reality of today’s industrial environment and expansive career pathways. Every year more

students take the message to heart and are prompted to explore the opportunities offered by the industrial sector.

Thank you to all of our Exhibiting Manufacturers and Educational Institutions identified below as well as all of the local organizations that sponsored the Expo!


  • APICS Lincoln Land chapter
  • Advanced Technology Systems
  • ASM International (American Society for Metals)
  • ASQ (American Society for Quality)
  • Center for Digital Inclusion
  • EDC (Economic Development Council for Central Illinois)
  • Illinois Central College
  • Illinois Corn Processing
  • Illinois State University
  • IMET Bradley University (Industrial & Manufacturing, Engineering & Technology)
  • Integris Engineering
  • Illinois Valley Plastics
  • J.H. Benedict
  • Manufacturing Maintenance Solutions
  • City of Pekin
  • Sandvik Coromat
  • SME (Society of Manufacturing Engineers)
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Illinois Extension
  • Western Illinois University


  • Careerlink
  • Central Illinois Vocational Co-op
  • IMA Education Foundation (Illinois Manufacturers’ Association)
  • Hallmark Metamora Fixture Facility
  • Morton Community Bank
  • MTCO Communications, Inc.
  • Peoria Area Labor Management Council
  • Peoria P.E.R.F.E.C.T.
  • Tazewell County Area Education for Employment
  • Tazewell Machine Works, Inc.
  • Rotary Club of East Peoria
  • Vermeer Midwest, Inc.
  • A special Thanks to the Gene Haas Foundation.

Discover Manufacturing Career Expo Overview Video

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DMCE Excel Tours_18

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