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GPEAK Program To Help Prepare Future Employees For The Workplace


A new regional essential skills pilot program seeks to get prospective employees ready to enter the workplace.

The Greater Peoria Essential Abilities and Knowledge (GPEAK) program seeks to certify people on 10 general attributes outlined by the state as needed for a successful career.

Don Shafer, senior vice president of PNC Bank and a member of the Regional Workforce Alliance, said the program was created after talking to businesses about the reasons they let employees go.

"Businesses often cited a lack of responsibility, communication, and teamwork as reasons why an employee was not retained," Shafer said at an event announcing the program Tuesday at Illinois Central College. "And we set out to address the essential skills issue based on those comments."

The full program is set to launch in January.

"This would provide a common platform, where employers would know that these skills have been demonstrated," said Illinois Central College President Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey. "Whether it's someone coming out of high school, whether it's someone making a career change, or whether it's someone earning their first credential."

In addition to assessments, GPEAK also will offer mentors, workshop activities, and other guidance to help build those skills.

Peoria's CEO Council, Greater Peoria Economic Development Council, Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), Jobs for the Future and the Northern Illinois University Education Systems Center also contributed to the effort.

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Tim Shelley is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.