Nearly 2,000 eighth graders and educators from thirty-two surrounding schools attended the 2023 8th Grade Career Conference at Lake Land College to learn about future career options!
The event was hosted by Eastern Illinois Education for Employment Systems 340 and Lake Land College’s Perkins Department with support in planning by local WIOA partners. LWIA 23 staff, Business Services Outreach staff from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, and the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Rehab administrators also attended the festivities.
Afternoon and morning sessions were offered over the course of two days (March 30-31, 2023). Each session was kicked off by Brooks Harper, an author and motivational speaker. Students from thirty-five regional middle and junior high schools then moved to the career fair, circling throughout the Lake Land College Field House, visiting Career Presenters’ tables to ask questions and learn more about career skills and opportunities.
Almost seventy local businesses participated in the excitement. At the Conference, presenters engaged with students and informed them of various vocations’ educational/technical needs. The shared value for intentional career exploration from so many regional business leaders was inspiring. The local employers prove to be dedicated to providing students with accessible career opportunities within our communities. The opportunity benefited students as they prepared to transition to high school and select their classes.
Watch event highlights in this video then scroll through pictures from the event on LWIA 23 - Business Services Facebook post and Eastern IL Education for Employment System 340 Facebook post!
Offering a wide variety of career exploration opportunities enables students to prepare for their high school educational needs, ultimately affecting their college and career objectives. The LWIA 23 Business Services Team looks forward to the 32nd annual 8th Grade Career Conference on April 11th-12th, 2024!
Champaign County Regional Planning Commission (CCPRC), in partnership with Apprenticeship Illinois, worked to execute a capacity-building project from July 1, 2022, to June 31, 2023. The project included four phases:
- Get a lay of the land.
- Build a Coalition.
- Developing messaging and setting goals.
- Engage employers.
In Quarter 3 and Quarter 4 of 2023, CCRPC got a lay of the land by engaging the Apprenticeship Illinois network and visiting apprenticeship sites across the state. During that time, CCRPC also worked to bring together stakeholders in the economic development region, including three community colleges, two local workforce areas, and an apprenticeship intermediary. Based on research and discussions, CCRPC developed a survey for Coalition stakeholders and aggregated and analyzed the survey data. Based on Phases 1 and 2 and the survey, CCRPC was able to write a report that captured opportunities and challenges within the EDR. This work directly impacts Phase 3: messaging and goal setting. The Coalition will discuss apprenticeships as one of several good work-based learning options that could address the talent shortage crisis by upskilling incumbent workers and backfilling more easy-to-fill entry-level positions. Our messaging will also work to advance equity by helping employers create supportive cultures that improve recruitment and retention efforts through job readiness programs and by sharing information about good jobs, career pathways, and supportive services with target populations. The goals will be demand-driven and based on the dynamics of local industries. The Coalition has set goals for Phase 4, employer engagement based on demand and dynamics.
Read the full Registered Apprenticeship in East Central Illinois: An Apprenticeship Navigator Report here.