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Junior Achievement’s JA JobSpark initiative helps 8th graders explore future careers with hundreds of Indy employers at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Two-day event brings thousands of students to the Fairgrounds for a first-hand look at jobs in technology, manufacturing, healthcare, public service, financial services and more

INDIANAPOLIS, September 26, 2017 - By the time today’s middle school students begin graduating from college, the Indianapolis region will need more than 100,000 qualified workers to fill job openings in advanced manufacturing, science and healthcare, technology, engineering, public service and business fields. Junior Achievement of Central Indiana (JA) kicks off its annual JA JobSpark event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds tomorrow, to help area 8th graders explore these careers through hands-on learning experiences with area companies.

JA JobSpark is a two-day career expo (September 26th and 27th) that will bring more than 8,500 students from 49 schools across Indianapolis to the Fairgrounds. As JA organizers open the doors to the Champions Pavilion and Blue Ribbon Pavilion Tuesday morning, the first groups of teachers and students will be welcomed by more than 1,600 volunteers representing approximately 120 Indy employers – businesses, agencies and organizations from Indiana’s fastest growing industry sectors.

“It’s never too early to begin empowering our young people to own their future success – JA JobSpark aims to ignite enthusiasm in these students about some of our fastest-growing jobs,” said Jennifer Burk, President and CEO of JA of Central Indiana. “Thanks to a very supportive business community, we can bring them face-to-face with the future.”

‘Cluster committees’ of corporate, government and institutional leaders volunteered to help JA recruit and organize JA JobSpark’s employer participants within a number of key sectors: Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics; Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; Architecture, Engineering and Construction; Business and Finance; Government, Law and Public Service; Health and Life Sciences; Hospitality and Tourism; and Technology. [A list of participating companies follows.]

“With the breadth of industries represented and diversity of organizations here at JA JobSpark, we hope to redefine what ‘work’ means to these students,” Burk continued. “Whether they love computers, are good with numbers or working with their hands, or look forward to science every day, there are exciting careers that also pay very well, if they’re willing to study hard and plan ahead.”

JA JobSpark takes place on the eve of Indy Do Day, the annual day of service for residents across the region, and creates an opportunity for more than 1,600 volunteers to invest their time and experience in the next generation of Indianapolis executives, employees and entrepreneurs.

The JA JobSpark program includes several weeks of in-school curriculum and activities prior to attending the hands-on career expo. A new feature of the program is a career exploration interactive app developed for the students to use before arriving at the Fairgrounds that was funded via a grant from Lilly Endowment.
“Junior Achievement is an amazing organization that has tremendous impact on students all over central Indiana. We are proud to partner with JA to create an app that will help take the JA JobSpark experience to a new level for parents, teachers, and students,” said Grant Glas, Founder & CEO of App Press.

“At Eli Lilly, giving back to our community is a core value of our corporate culture, and initiatives that support and inspire our young people are a top priority,” noted Sherrie Bossung, Director of Community Engagement for Eli Lilly & Company and member of the JA JobSpark volunteer steering committee. “And JA JobSpark is clearly a win-win for all of our participating companies: Like other businesses in advanced manufacturing and the life sciences, finding qualified people is always a challenge for us – every student we interact with during these two days could be a sought-after recruit in just a few years.”

The Indy Chamber supports JA and the JA JobSpark program, and President & CEO, MichaelHuber, added that the future of the metro workforce is a top business climate issue and challenge for firms across the regional economy.

“The Indy Chamber’s agenda is aimed at a region where all people and employers have an opportunity to thrive – so JA JobSpark is a perfect fit,” Huber said. “By connecting our business community with these students on the verge of high school, we feel that Junior Achievement is making an important ‘down payment’ on a stronger workforce and more successful companies that choose Indy to invest and create good jobs.”

For more information, visit and

Media Contact:
Courtney Smallwood – Indy Chamber – 317-464-2246 – [email protected]

By getting students excited about high-demand jobs as they prepare for high school, JA JobSpark is an investment in Indiana’s future workforce. By the time today’s middle school students join the job market, more than 70% of all openings will require education beyond high school – it’s never too early to encourage students to start thinking about a post-secondary plan.

About Junior Achievement of Central Indiana:
Junior Achievement (JA) empowers young people to own their future success. Our volunteer-delivered, K-12 programs foster career exploration, work readiness, entrepreneurship, financial literacy and philanthropy skills. JA's experiential learning inspires kids to dream big and reach their potential. Junior Achievement of Central Indiana helps young people connect with relevant learning and the importance of staying in school. JA sparks students to develop competitive skills and confidence.

About The Indy Chamber:
The Indy Chamber is the voice of progress and improvement for the Indianapolis region's business community. With membership of nearly 2,000 businesses in the Indianapolis region, the Indy Chamber is leading the effort to strengthen the business climate, improve the state of education, revitalize neighborhoods and enhance the region's workforce. For more information, visit

2017 JA JobSpark Industry Partners:

Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics
Aero Industries, Inc., Allison Transmission, Conexus, Eli Lilly and Company, EmployIndy, Haas, Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Indiana Manufacturers Association, Indiana National Tooling & Machining Association, Ivy Tech Community College, Jiffy Lube, Langham Logistics, MSD Lawrence Township, MSD Wayne Township, Overton & Sons, Roche Indianapolis, Rolls-Royce, Snap-On Tools, UPS, Vincennes University, Vincennes University Aviation Technology Center

Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
Alternate Energy, American Dairy Association of Indiana, Celebrate Science Indiana, Dow AgroSciences, Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Indiana Farm Bureau, Indiana Grown, Indiana Soybean, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis Power & Light Company, MacAllister Machinery, Meyer Aerial Photography, MISO Energy, MSD Lawrence Township, Purdue

Architecture, Engineering and Construction
Business Furniture Corp., CORE Planning Strategies, Custom Concrete Company, Inc., Eli Lilly and Company, Fanning Howey, Indiana Construction Roundtable, Ivy Tech, m2 Performance Strategies, Powers + Sons Construction Company, R.E. Dimond Engineering, RJE Business Interiors, Safety Management Group, Schmidt Associates, Shiel Sexton Co Inc., Sunbelt Rentals, Williams Creek

Business and Finance
Better Business Bureau, Beech Grove City Schools, BMO, Elanco, Eli Lilly and Company, Fuel Merchandise Group, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Huntington Bank, Katz, Sapper & Miller, KPMG, OneAmerica, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Scudder Creative, Simon

Government, Law and Public Service
American Red Cross, Decatur Middle School, EmployIndy, FBI Indianapolis, Indiana Commission on Higher Education, Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Indiana National Guard, Indianapolis Fire Department, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, National Weather Service

Health and Life Sciences
Cook Regentec, Eli Lilly and Company, EmployIndy, Eskenazi Health, Franciscan Health, Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Health Information Management, Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI, Indiana University Health, I-STEM Resource Network, MSD Washington Township, Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana, Roche Indianapolis, St. Vincent, St. Vincent Sports Performance

Hospitality and Tourism
Career Technology Center, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Eli Lilly and Company, Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association, Indiana State Museum, Indiana University, Indianapolis Children’s Choir, Indianapolis Symphony, Indy Do Day, Indianapolis Zoo, Ivy Tech Community College Central Indiana, J. Everett Light Career Center, JW Marriott Indianapolis, Light Cafe, Marriott, Piazza Produce, Westin

Beech Grove High School, CEDIA, Eli Lilly and Company, Hansen Multi Media, hc1, IUPUI school of Informatics & Computing, Microsoft, Nextech, Octiv, PropelUp, Salesforce, Wiley 

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