PEORIA — Junior Achievement identifies its pillars of success as workforce preparedness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship, but no one can stand on those alone.
That's why the central Illinois chapter of the youth- and business-oriented organization each year singles out those who use their success to help lift up others in the community.
The Central Illinois Business Hall of Fame inducts new laureates annually in recognition of their leadership as much as their business acumen, and will welcome three new members in March.
Peoria County Board Chairman Andrew Rand, who also is the CEO of Advanced Medical Transport of Central Illinois, will join artist and entrepreneur Preston Jackson and Mike Cullinan, chairman of United Contractors Midwest, as the newest members of the hall.
"The idea of it is that young people can see the role models in their own community," said Mary Pille, president of Junior Achievement of Central Illinois. "We have them share stories about how they grew up and their first job, so young people can see what it's like to walk in their shoes."
The induction ceremony, scheduled for March 1 at the Marriott Pere Marquette, also serves as a fundraiser to help support the local Junior Achievement initiatives.
They also will recognize Nancy Nunn, a retired tax specialist with Caterpillar Inc., as Volunteer of the Year, and Peoria Christian Middle School Principal Ron Shobert as Teacher of the Year.
"As a teacher, I want to get my students excited about their future and being life long learners," Shobert said. "Junior Achievement has been a wonderful way to do that. During Junior Achievement, I would encourage my students to find something that you love to do and make a career out of it."
The not-for-profit group operates in 90 schools in six counties, reaching thousands of students in 729 classrooms. Among their programs are workforce readiness lessons to help eighth graders start on a path toward a fulfilling career.
"These lessons help reduce the number of people ditching their majors in college because they didn't have readiness training," said Heather Sexton, the local chapter's development manager. "That kind of career readiness in school is invaluable."
For more information on the hall of fame ceremony, visit centralillinois.ja.org online or call 682-1800.
Matt Buedel can be reached at 686-3154 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JournoBuedel.