The chamber brought senior high school students and local industry
leaders together to listen and to talk on Tuesday. Seniors from
Mount Pulaski, Hartsburg-Emden and Lincoln Community High School
attended the third annual Workforce Readiness Expo. The 5 1/2-hour
event was held at Jefferson Street Christian Church.
opening address by John Blackburn, president of Lincoln College,
students sat in on panel discussions, attended workshops and toured
A wide variety of local industry, business and education leaders
provided practical and sage advice on how the students can ready
themselves for employment.
Panels represented Logan County's four largest employers:
agriculture, business, education and health care. Jim Grimaldi of Grimaldi Law Office moderated discussions.
On the agriculture panel were Dave Irwin from State Bank of
Lincoln; Jared Brown of Pioneer Seed; Michael Schmidt from Central
Illinois Ag; Betsy Pech, ag teacher at Hartsburg-Emden High School;
Dave Bishop of PrairiErth, an organic farm; and Dr. Jay Miller from
Railsplitter Veterinary Wellness Center.
Serving on the business panel were Joe Blankley from Eaton; David
Lanterman of Lincoln Theater 4 and Beans and Such; Patrick Doolin of
Integrity Data; Elaine Aue from Culver's; Lisa Kramer from Prairie
Engineers; Wade Kaesebier, CPA with J.M. Abbott; Cody Adkins of
Wal-Mart; and Joe Ryan, Country Financial agent.
What the professionals shared with the future workforce was far
more than what the requirements are to get a job. There was also
emphasis on personal responsibility to develop vision, planning
ahead and living responsibly. They gave practical advice about how
to engage one-on-one with others; how to conduct oneself in
relationships with respect, such as to meet the other person in the
eye when you are speaking; behaviors and character that lead to
getting a job; being a good employee or maybe boss later.
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Later, students were able to visit with potential future
employers and higher education representatives.
The workshops offered this year focused on life success, career
success and academic success.
Suzanne Broderick from Heartland Community College shared
information on "Career Success."
"Instead of job-shadowing just one career, this event equips
students with needed skills while exposing them to numerous local
occupations," said Kristi Powell, from the staff of Heartland
Community College and the chamber committee that planned the event.
Also present and assisting for the day was Brian Bergen,
executive director of the Lincoln & Logan County Development
"I thought today's expo was very successful," Bergen commented.
"I think the seniors were given a good spectrum of career and
educational opportunities that are available in Logan County. I
think Andi Hake and the chamber did a great job for the high school
seniors in the county, and I am glad to see that so many of the
professionals and employers in the community are willing to give
their time to show our emerging workforce all the opportunities that
are available after graduation."
Andi Hake, executive director of the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber
of Commerce said: "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."