On September 24 and 25, 2019 Junior Achievement of Central Indiana hosted its fourth annual JobSpark event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The two-day hands-on career event offers Marion County eighth graders insights into what industries interest them, what specific jobs are like, and what education is required to perform them successfully. The event drew over 10,000 students and 150 businesses from various fields. Amongst these 150 businesses in attendance, Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana (RHI) was there to provide an in-depth look into the world of rehabilitation medicine.

Junior Achievement and Local Companies Team up

Junior Achievement (JA) of Central Indiana is an organization designed to help students realize the importance of education and the effect that it has on their future. JA holds various events throughout the year to show students the many options that they have when choosing a career field or furthering their education. JobSpark is just one example of the plethora of events that they host to bolster their mission. JobSpark at the Indiana State Fairgrounds attracted 150 businesses filling out eight "career clusters", giving students a chance to learn more about all of the options they may have. The eight clusters, or categories, included:

  • 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 
  • Technology

Companies in participation included IPL, Salesforce, One America, and RHI. With these companies in attendance, the event collected over 8,000 volunteer hours, all working towards improving students' knowledge about career choices. Thanks to the 150 different companies at the fairgrounds, around 200 hands-on experiences gave students an idea of what to expect in each career, including a live look into some of the work RHI does everyday.

Furthering Education on Rehabilitation 

RHI had the pleasure of visiting this incredible event, and joining plenty of other healthcare providers in the Health and Life Sciences cluster. Representing RHI at the event were Lori Gordon and Kathy Ozolins, a speech therapist and an occupational therapist. Lori and Kathy were tasked with providing interactive, job-specific activities and shared their clinical expertise on occupational and speech therapy. Following the experience, students in attendance were given a survey to explain their time at JobSpark. Results from the survey were overwhelmingly positive, but expected. Some of the results include 96% of students being more aware of career opportunities in their field of interest and 95% of students feeling it is important to begin thinking about their career interests in middle school. These statistics only further support the research that when a student has a real idea of what they want to do after high school, they are much more likely to stay in school and graduate. Thanks to the efforts and commitment in this community-wide initiative, team RHI has provided a "spark" by educating more than 10,700 Indianapolis students about future career events in rehabilitation.