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Resources for Students & Parents/Guardians

Prepare for career exploration! 

CareerSpark is an immersive experience guiding you through the many choices in careers. You will learn what it is like to be a nurse, firefighter, lawyer, architect, and much more. As a student, you are the workforce of the future but to join the workforce you have to know what it is you want to do.

Come join over 5,000 other students in exploring careers in our most in-demand industries and create your plan for the future. The possibilities are endless, and CareerSpark gives you a place to start!

College Planning Resources

College is Possible for Everyone! It’s Never too Early to Start Planning!

While college may seem like it’s far away, it’s never too early to start learning and planning for the future. There have also never been as many resources and opportunities to get into college! Programs like the FAFSA, MAP, and more offer free money to those who need extra help to get into college; expand the buttons below to learn more.

Career Coach

The road to success can be a long one, one where the destination is sometimes hazy. Today, mapping where  you need to go is as easy as entering your destination into a phone, but what about mapping your future?  It’s never been easier using the Claim Your Future game provided by Illinois Student Assistance Commission,  at! Or you can use Career Coach, the free career exploration and planning game  provided by Illinois Central College. Answer some simple questions, get matched to a career, and find the right  college program for you! Check it out today to start planning at

IL College 2 Career Economic Data

Wondering what kind of money you’ll make with the level of postsecondary education you’re planning to pursue? Use this simulation to see what people with your expected level of education and course of study are making in central IL! Visit to get started.

Get the Checklist, Make Your Plan

As you get ready for high school, it’s important to have a plan, and the folks at the Illinois Student Assistance  Commission have prepared a checklist to lay out things you can do each year of high school to prepare for college. Learn what you should be doing each year of high school here.

Find Your College Fit with College GreenLight

Picking the right college can be challenging, but the best way to start is by finding what you enjoy, what interests you, and what you’re good at. When you’ve done that, College Greenlight can help you find the college that’s the best match for your skills, your plan, and your budget. Visit College Greenlight at www. to get started today!

All About Financial Aid FAFSA, MAP, Scholarships and Loans

Start learning about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid with help from Illinois Central College’s  Financial Aid TV service. This service offers the ability to talk with financial aid counselors on-demand, via internet chat, email, or phone to help you navigate the college exploration process. You can also watch videos to learn about financial aid options and how they all work. Visit to start learning today!

More Resources

JA Connect™

You want a bright future, but how do you make it a reality? Through JA Connect™ interactive self-paced learning activities and resources, you will develop the skills, attitudes, and behaviors necessary to ensure you are career and workforce-ready, financially capable, and entrepreneurially minded.

O*NET Interest Profiler

The O*NET Interest Profiler is an interactive tool for job seekers and students to learn more about their career options. My Next Move has tasks, skills, salary information, and more for over 900 different careers.

What Color is My Parachute? For teens

This book gives timeless advice, up-to-the-minute insights. With more than ten million copies sold over fifty years, the world’s most popular and best-selling career guide is fully revised and expanded for 2021. You can access it here.


This website offers free personality and aptitude tests to help determine your personality type, talents, career interests and more! Learn more at

StrengthsExplorer for Students

StrengthsExplorer outlines the 10 possible Talent Themes in the Strengths Explorer framework and contains links to resources that parents can use to develop their children. Learn more at

Highlands Ability Battery Test

The Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) is a human assessment tool that objectively measures your natural abilities by asking you to perform specific tasks or exercises. As part of the Highlands Whole Person Model, the HAB is the foundation and starting point to identify the career-best suited for you. The HAB was founded on the work of research scientist Johnson O’Connor, who devoted his life to the study of human engineering. You can find more information at

Talk to your guidance counselor and parents!

Your guidance counselor can help you connect with programs and paths that match your interests. Talk to your parents about their career journey. You may be surprised to find where they started out!

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 past students have said about this experience:

  • I learned how the more you look into things the more you can learn. I looked into being a surgeon because I’ve wanted to be one since I was little and I found out so much more about being one then I ever thought I could.
  • The coolest thing I learned from CareerSpark is probably the amount of jobs that are out there. It definitely opens your eyes to the possibilities.
  • I learned the difference between every job and how they all have their own unique features.

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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