EAST PEORIA — At events such as the High-Tech Career Expo scheduled for next month at Illinois Central College, employers usually show prospective students what type of jobs might be available upon graduation.
But many of the companies that will be represented at the Sept. 13 event are all but guaranteeing positions to future graduates — with benefits, head-of-household wages and, in some instances, tuition assistance.
"We have a 100 percent job placement rate in our program," said Jeff Gardner, who coordinates ICC's Diesel Powered Equipment Technology program. "There's a huge need right now — I've never seen it like it is today, in terms of job opportunities and pay."
Employers at the expo, which starts with a session for current students and then runs from 4 to 7:30 p.m. for the public, cover four major industries with corresponding ICC programs: agriculture, construction, trucking and heavy machinery with diesel power.
The event also emphasizes the unexpected technology in each industry and what students can expect to encounter in such a career.
"We're looking for high school juniors and seniors and their parents to attend," said Grant Grebner, a professor in the agricultural and industrial technologies department. "We're looking to expose them to jobs and careers in ag and diesel that they may not be aware of."
The programs also are open to non-traditional students, but most include paid internships and day classes that could be difficult to complete while working a full-time job.
Speakers at the expo include alumni from the ICC programs who will describe the path they took to a job in the industry they studied, as well as veterans of the fields discussing their careers.
The event is free, but registration is required by Sept. 7 and can be completed online at the college's website or by calling 694-5422.
Matt Buedel can be reached at 686-3154 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JournoBuedel.