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GP CareerSpark: Inspiring Minds and Shaping Futures in Central Illinois on September 28-29



Media Contact: Junior Achievement of Central Illinois

Contact: Sally Eastman

Phone: 309-682-1800




GP CareerSpark: Inspiring Minds and Shaping Futures in Central Illinois on September 28-29

Peoria, IL – Junior Achievement of Central Illinois and the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council are proud to announce that GP CareerSpark will return for a 7th year in Greater Peoria on September 28th and 29th. Focused on inspiring and guiding young minds towards promising careers, GP CareerSpark is set to be a transformative experience for students, educators, and employers alike.

GP CareerSpark is a dynamic career exploration expo for eighth grade students in the region, providing hands-on activities showcasing our region's diverse careers in healthcare, manufacturing, business, agriculture and more. As a strategy of the Regional Workforce Alliance to develop a skilled and resilient talent pipeline, CareerSpark is one of the first steps in connecting Greater Peoria's soon-to-be high school students to the region's career resources.

"Career exploration isn't just about finding a job,” said Mary Pille, President at Junior Achievement of Central Illinois, “it's about discovering opportunities that shape the entire community. When young people embark on journeys to explore their passions and talents, they contribute to the growth, innovation, and prosperity of our entire community."



Before and after the CareerSpark expo, schools receive Junior Achievement’s JA Inspire® curriculum materials to help teachers prepare their students. This includes free access to a career interest inventory and resources for developing individualized career action plans. Within each career cluster’s zone at the CareerSpark expo, there will be a variety of interactive activities that demonstrate real jobs within that industry, providing a crucial touchpoint for eighth grade students before they select their high school courses. To make these activities possible, over 100 regional businesses have committed resources, volunteers and industry experts.


"By investing in career exploration for young people, employers not only pave the way for individual growth and success but also foster a future workforce equipped with diverse skills, innovative thinking, and a deep sense of purpose." said Chris Setti, CEO of the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council.


Central Illinois Educators who wish to sign up their eighth grade students for the experience may contact Junior Achievement at There is also a need for volunteers to help make the event a success. You can sign up here:


CareerSpark is made possible by a grant through Illinois Charitable Trust, support from Accenture, PNC, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Peoria County ROE #48, and Chase Bank.


About the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council

The Greater Peoria Economic Development Council serves Logan, Mason, Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties, a federally designated five-county Economic Development District. In collaboration with our local economic and workforce development partners, we drive economic growth in Greater Peoria through targeted business and talent development and attraction.


About Junior Achievement of Central Illinois

Junior Achievement of Central Illinois is dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. Their region covers 29 central Illinois counties including Peoria, Woodford, Tazewell, McLean, Logan, and Sangamon, and they are reaching 16,000 K-12th grade students per year. Learn more at


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