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Campus Engagement in Our Unit

Discover Manufacturing Career Expo 2015

During the annual Discover Manufacturing Expo, over 800 students from 29 area schools are introduced to manufacturing career pathways.

This is the second year University of Illinois Extension has engaged with the Greater Peoria EDC's Strategic Manufacturing Group in linking area manufacturers with educators through an event designed to inspire and prepare students for manufacturing careers.

In the Discovering Manufacturing Career Expo, students are immersed in hands-on experiences featuring a variety of manufacturing careers. The Career Expo encourages students to consider high-skill, high-wage careers in all areas of the manufacturing industry. The event is designed to show how manufacturing has changed and see first-hand how high-tech this industry has become. Youth also learn what employers are looking for: honesty, optimism, communication, teamwork, and adaptability.

Teen Teachers partnered with the UIUC Digital Innovation Leadership Program team to lead hands on activities in vinyl cutting, 3-D printing, and digital embroidery. Being able to experience technology through hands on experiences provides youth with an opportunity to discover their passions, talent and strengths. In addition, being part of the Manufacturing Expo helped youth connect how these skills and technologies are tied to local manufacturing careers.

The Digital Innovation Leadership Program is a University of Illinois partnership of the Center for Digital Inclusion at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Illinois Extension, and the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab, a unit of the Illinois Informatics Institute. DILP is supported with funding from the Illinois Extension & Outreach Initiative—a special partnership between Extension, the Dean of ACES, and the Office of the Provost; the Illinois Informatics Institute; and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

For more information about University of Illinois Extension programs in Youth Development or Community & Economic Development programs in the Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Extension unit, Judy Schmidt, 4-H Youth Development or Kathleen Brown, Community & Economic Development Educator, .


As a community and economic development educator, Kathie Brown worked with community leaders, government officials, volunteer groups, small business owners, and others to help communities become stronger and more economically viable. She focused on leadership and organizational development; local government education and relations; economic development strategies; participatory community planning/visioning processes; group process facilitation; collaboration and partnership building; public issue education; and understanding, using and developing data.

Prior to retirement in 2021, Brown worked with organizations and local governments to help them: (1) analyze and understand their needs, (2) identify alternative courses of action, (3) make informed decisions, (4) plan for the future and (5) evaluate their development efforts.

Kathie worked for Extension for almost 40 years, contributing to programs related to community health, digital literacy, STEAM education, and more.