Central Illinois 8th Graders Get Hands-On Work Experience

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Thousands of 8th graders filled the Peoria Civic Center for a career fair that featured 90 careers and over a hundred different companies.

Career Spark is all about teaching 8th graders about different careers. However, the event is not like other career fairs. Every booth is hands on.

Roanoke-Benson 8th grader Lillie Oliveri said she came to Career Spark to learn more about interior design. And like every other booth…she experienced Interior Design work hands on.

“There was like blocks with different words on them to represent different rooms and you put them together how you want your house to look,” said Oliveri.

From Healthcare, to law enforcement, even broadcasting — teens got to experience a wide array of industries.

While 14- and 15-year-olds may not seem like typical job fair attendees, organizers say 8th grade is the perfect age for exposing students to different careers.

“We know that students in middle school are making decisions about careers, most specifically what careers they don’t want to pursue,” said Brent Baker of the Peoria Economic Development Council.

Junior Achievement of Central Illinois Mary Pille says thanks to the design of the fair, 8th graders seem to love every second of it.

“You know if you think about an 8th grader, you would think walking around here they might be on their phone or something. But because of the fact that it’s hands-on they get to experience it as opposed to someone just talking to them,” said Pille.

Pille say the hope is the event will serve as a jumping off point for students.

“And they’ll be able to start developing their game plan for high school to figure out what courses they want to take, besides their required courses, so they can choose a pathway that will support what they want to be once they get out of high school,” she added.

Learn more about the event here.

FULL DISCLOSURE: MARY PILLE WITH JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT IS THE SIGNIFICANT OTHER OF THE GENERAL MANAGER OF WEEK-TV.

Andy Weber

Andy Weber

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