The chief executive officer of Junior Achievement of central Indiana says an initiative focused on awareness of in-demand careers will help "plant that seed" in the minds of Hoosier middle school students. JA JobSpark brings together education and industry partners to expose students to fields they may not otherwise know. The program centers on a two-day, hands-on event in September at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Jennifer Burk says could draw up to 10,000 eight graders.

Burk says JobSpark reaches students at a critical time in their career journey. "We really need to focus on helping them be engaged, helping them see the importance of what they’re learning in the classroom and really how that connects to the possibility of a successful and fulfilling future," Burk tells Inside INdiana Business. "That includes helping them understand the career pathways that begin really right there in middle school as they’re making their decisions about class choices through high school."

She says the business community has been "overwhelmingly supportive" since the JobSpark program first launched last year. Its partners include the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and representatives from the private sector including Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY), Indiana University Health and Salesforce.

Leading up the gathering at the State Fairgrounds, many attending students will have had the opportunity to receive coursework connected to the initiative. The September 26th and 27th event will include a wide array of hand-on experiences designed to give students a taste of potential careers in:

  1. Advance Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics
  2. Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
  3. Architecture, Engineering and Construction
  4. Business & Finance
  5. Government, Law & Public Service
  6. Health & Life Sciences
  7. Hospitality & Tourism
  8. Technology

You can connect to more about JobSpark by clicking here.

View a video released by Junior Achievement of Central Indiana highlighting the inaugural JobSpark event in 2016:

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