INDIANAPOLIS - An event this week in Indianapolis is providing over 9,000 central Indiana 8th graders with what organizers say is a first-hand look at potential future careers. JA JobSpark, an annual Junior Achievement of Central Indiana program, brings together students from 62 schools and representatives from 120 employers to take part in career exploration activities. JA of Central Indiana Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Burk says it's never too early to engage students in focusing on their future.

"We know that middle school is such a critical time for students to think about what engages them, what is interesting and what gives them optimism for the future," she said. "We work with more than 60 schools across central Indiana to bring their eighth grade students here to experience jobs across eight different industry clusters."

Job focus areas include technology, manufacturing, healthcare, public service and financial services. JA says more than 70 percent of job openings will require some level of post-secondary education by the time the attending students reach the job market, so it's important to get students to think about their plans now.

The Indy Chamber is a JA partner on the event. CEO Michael Huber says his organization's agenda "is aimed at building on a region where all people and employers have an opportunity to thrive - so JA JobSpark is a perfect fit. By connecting our business community with these students entering high school, we feel that Junior Achievement is making an important 'down payment' on a stronger workforce and more successful companies that choose Indy to invest and create good jobs."

The two-day career expo continues through Wednesday at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. You can connect to more about JA JobSpark by clicking here.