Friday, April 19, 2013
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Chamber hosts workforce development event for Logan County high school seniors

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[April 19, 2013]  A committee from the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce is once again hosting its popular Workforce Readiness Expo for high school students. The event will be on Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Jefferson Street Christian Church.

The Workforce Readiness Expo gives local high school students the opportunity to visit with Logan County businesses that may one day offer them a job. In addition, experienced professionals take time to teach students valuable workforce skills that many business leaders say are lacking in today's workforce pool.

This year the event will be attended by high school seniors from Mount Pulaski and Hartsburg-Emden High School as well as Lincoln Community High School.

This event is not a job fair. The chamber of commerce is hoping to accomplish two things with the annual Workforce Readiness Expo. One, it prepares high school students in Logan County for the next step, whatever that next step would be for them. Second, with the business expo portion of the day, the chamber hopes to show Logan County youth that there are viable careers in Logan County, so they don't have to leave to make a good living.

"Instead of job-shadowing just one career, this event equips students with needed skills while exposing them to numerous local occupations," says Kristi Powell, of Heartland Community College and a member of the chamber committee planning the event.

The third year of the annual Workforce Readiness Expo comes with some things new and different. The planning committee listened to feedback from students, teachers and businesses that previously participated and then made measurable changes.

The workshops being offered this year are based around three themes -- life success, career success and academic success. The planning committee felt it would be a good idea to have a keynote speaker to open the event, and the speaker this year will be John Blackburn, president of Lincoln College. The business exhibition portion of the event has been shortened to only an hour and a half as opposed to all day, to allow time for the keynote speaker.

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Students have had the opportunity to choose between one of four career panels that will run all day, with topics on agriculture, business, education and health care. These four categories represent Logan County's largest employers.

Students were engaged early on to help prepare them for this day. In addition to filling out a questionnaire on what career panel they want to attend, students helped develop the questions the moderator will ask the panelists. Students were also given informational materials in advance and sat in on an assembly to hear about details of the event to help better prepare them to take advantage of the unique opportunity being given to them through the Workforce Readiness Expo.

"We are hoping that this one-day event, held in partnership with many organizations and businesses in our community, will provide high school seniors the skills they need to enter the job market, and give students the opportunity to engage with local business leaders that can help guide them on a career path," said Andi Hake, executive director of the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce.

If you are interested in supporting the Workforce Readiness Expo, or for more details, contact the chamber office at 217-735-2385 or

The Workforce Readiness Expo directly reflects the mission of the chamber to advocate, support and unify local businesses for the prosperity of Logan County.

[Text from file received from the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce]

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