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Resources for Educators

“Participation is easy. Impact is life-changing.”

For you, the educator, our team provides enrichment materials and opportunities to be shared with your students. CareerSpark is an opportunity for students to explore new and exciting careers in our region’s most in-demand fields. Upon registration, you will access a wealth of resources to guide your students through their successful journey.

School Registration

The in-person part of the CareerSpark experience will take place October 1-2, 2024, at the Peoria Civic Center. Each school should submit ONE pre-registration for ALL 2024-2025 8th-grade students from your school using this link. To learn more about school participation in CareerSpark, please email Angie Houck at

JA Inspire

JA Inspire is more than a career fair! It brings together the business community and local schools and is designed to help launch middle school students into their futures: high school, college, and careers beyond.

When you sign up, you will receive an educator toolkit as a part of the JA Inspire program content, which includes a career assessment tool and activity sheets!

Fulfilling the PaCE Curriculum

According to the Illinois PaCE Postsecondary and Career Expectations, 8th grade students should complete a career cluster survey, attend a career exploration day, and should know the concept of career clusters of interest. CareerSpark and JA Inspire fulfill these objectives at no cost to your school! This experience provides a simple, effective way for you to  meet the specific PaCE Career Expectations under Career Exploration and Development,  

One of the best parts of CareerSpark-JA Inspire is that students get to learn about local careers right in their backyard that they may not even have heard about from people who actually work in those fields! Hundreds of local volunteers from the Greater Peoria region collaborate every year to help our 8th graders explore a wide range of careers organized by career clusters.

Local evaluation has demonstrated annually that approximately 50% of 8th graders report they are considering careers they had not previously thought of before participating in CareersSpark-JA Inspire. This significant outcome has been demonstrated every single year since the inception of this local initiative in 2017. That’s thousands of young people whose futures may be different because of this experience!

CareerSpark 8th Grade Past Participant Testimonials

Here’s what a few educators and students have said about this experience:

  • The coolest thing that I have learned from Career Spark was that if you stay in school then you can accomplish big things.
  • CareerSpark helped me evaluate my options when it comes to making career plans so I am ready!
  • The variety of booths the students could explore was extensive and impressive. My students were never bored–no one asked to leave for the bathroom because they didn’t want to miss anything!
  • There is nothing quite like this event- the number of industries represented, the amount of professionals present, the things that the students get to try- it truly is amazing! We can’t recreate something like this on a school level.

CareerSpark-You’re Hired! Past Participant Testimonials

Here’s what a few of our educators have said about this experience: 

  • The students were excited and found the platform very easy to use. They really enjoyed the videos and interactive games, as well. Thank you so much for putting this all together.
  • I liked that students had the opportunity to return to the program whenever it was convenient for them, over a period of months.
  • I liked the wealth of information you provided for students and how you personalized it to the Peoria area.
  • I liked how different fields were highlighted each week. It helped to keep my student focused and kept them from getting overwhelmed.

Get in Touch

To get help with registration or learn more about how you can be involved with CareerSpark 2024, don’t hesitate to contact Angie Houck

Angie Houck | Program Director
Junior Achievement of Central Illinois
309.682.1800 ext. 103 |

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