Junior Achievement hosts local businesses at Inspire career fair for area schools

About 450 students from across Clark, Champaign, Logan and Madison counties gathered for Junior Achievement of the Mad River Region's first Inspire hands-on career fair this week.

Students from school - including Global Impact Stem Academy and Northridge Middle School - bused students to the Mercantile Building at the Clark County Fairgrounds within Champions Park to enjoy a day learning about different local businesses and possible future career opportunities.

"We're hoping to create a pipeline between our students and the companies in our area," says Crystal Steiner, development manager for JA of the Mad River Region. 

Inspire, she says, was developed by JA USA four years ago, and the local JA team learned about it shortly before the pandemic began in 2020. 

They knew it was something they wanted to host locally because of the events focus on local talent retention and the ability of the event to directly connect students with real-life job opportunities right in their own backyards.

Some of the businesses and organizations at the event, included Mercy Health- Springfield, McGregor Metalworking Companies, the Springfield Family YMCA, Springfield Township Fire/ EMS Department, the Clark County Sheriff's Office, the Springfield Small Business Development Center, Clark-Springfield Career Technology Center, Express Employment Professionals, and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).

The hands on opportunities included cheek swabs from BCI. Students could see how their saliva affects paper, and they also learned about taking fingerprints.

McGregor brought robots students could try, and CTC  ambassador students were at the event to share information about what they were working on in their CTC programs. 

Mercy Health brought their surgical simulator for students to try their hand at and see how high their skill could help them score.
Steiner says JA will definitely be doing the event again, and she hopes to continue growing it to add more businesses and see more schools attending. She'd like it to eventually be large enough to fill not only the Mercantile building, but also the connected Annex and the Arts and Crafts Building.

We want to help in connecting local students with local options for what their future career options could look like here," she says. 
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