Hundreds of central Illinois students got a closer look at the manufacturing industry


EAST PEORIA, Ill. — Central Illinois’ future workforce got an inside look at job options Tuesday and Wednesday.

Hundreds of high school students attended a career expo where companies showcased manufacturing jobs.

These students toured multiple facilities in the area and spoke with experts at ICC’s East Peoria campus.

“It’s given me a lot of good ideas I possibly want to consider one day for a job,” said Tremont High School Freshman Gus Hodges.

And while Gus is open to anything relating to technology and coding, the manufacturing career expo has taught him, alongside hundreds of other students, more about the industry and different career paths.

“It’s been pretty fun, we’ve talked about robots, molding, and stuff you can do for building things,” Hodges said.

Steve Stewart from Morton Industries says students have gotten to tour multiple facilities over the last two days.

“What we’re doing is trying to diversify our manufacturing tour sites. Yesterday we had Morton Industries and Caterpillar. Today we have Versapress, which manufactures books, and we also do Komatsu and JH Benedict,” Stewart said.

Stewart says this expo is a great way to let students know about the variety of jobs they can have one day, right at home.

“To be able to reach our high school students in our community, in the greater Peoria region. To be able to showcase high technology careers in manufacturing. That can be all the way from starting at sales, all the way down to repainting parts could be engineering, could be running machines,” Stewart said.

Stewart says ICC offers certifications and apprenticeships which help the local manufacturing industry so this expo is a great way to give high school students a tangible way to continue their education.

Each day the expo gives out surveys to the kids to see if they would be interested in working in the manufacturing field, Stewart says they’ve received a lot of positive feedback.

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