Make Yourself GP is all about championing the great work of our partners who are developing our future workforce, and it doesn’t get more successful that the annual Construction Industry Career Expo! The most recent Expo, which concluded September 23rd, drew 1,130 eighth graders from 43 schools from around Greater Peoria and marked it’s 19th year! Over it’s lifetime the Construction Industry Careers Expo has introduced over 18,000 middle school students to the world of construction careers.
“The most valuable part of the Expo is the hands on experience it provides students with tools of the trade,” said Dana Oaks of the Greater Peoria Contractors & Suppliers Association, one of the events coordinators and sponsors. But which tools, of which trades, you may ask? At the expo students participate in hands-on activities with the Bricklayers Local #6, Cement Masons Local #18, IBEW (Electricians) Local #34, Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA), Operating Engineers Local #649, Mid-Central Illinois Regional Council of Carpenters/JATC, Painters District Council #30, Plasterers Local #18, Sheet Metal Workers Local #1, and the Steamfitters Local #353. “Students also learn that all apprenticeship training is paid for which students don’t often know about.” says Dana.
All of this couldn’t happen without support from the entire union trades community, and indeed, this Expo is a collaboration between the Builders Association of Tazewell County, Central Illinois Chapter of NECA-IBEW Local 34 Quality Connection, C.I.V.E.C. E.F.E. 200, Combined Central Illinois Construction Industry Fund, Greater Peoria Contractors & Suppliers Association, Inc. (GPCSA), Peoria Educational Region For Employment & Career Training (P.E.R.F.E.C.T.), Tazewell County/Area Education For Employment, Tri-County Construction Labor-Management Council, Inc. (TRICON), West Central Illinois Building & Construction Trades Council, Western Area Career System, and Wise Safety/Reis Environmental. From planning to implementation, 45+ volunteers contribute approximately 2,000 hours to make the Construction Industry Careers Expo a success each year.
For students interested in further exploring union trades careers there is a Work-Based Learning program offered to high school seniors through P.E.R.F.E.C.T. and TriCON that offers students the opportunity to learn basic construction skills, learn critical safety practices, and earn work experience with a local contractor. To learn more about this program and how to connect with other work-based learning opportunities, contact Chris Kendall at P.E.R.F.E.C.T