More than 50 school and business officials from Central Illinois attended the annual Manufacturing Educator’s Day in Peoria. Area manufacturers stressed the importance of graduating students with the skills to jump in the industry. Lori Laredo is director of operations for East Peoria High School. She says the school is keeping many vocational programs amid cutbacks in state funding:
“We still have a very strong partnership with ICC and we send welders there, and they can go junior and senior year and come out with a welding certificate and right into employment. We also have a small work based learning group that do different kinds of maybe unpaid internships where they see what it’s like,” Laredo says.
Officials say more than a third of all jobs will require college education in the next five years. They say that means high school graduates can find stable careers in manufacturing. The event is also a preview to the Discover Manufacturing Expo later this month. The Expo gives students tours of area manufacturers and have interactive displays for welding, machining and painting.