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Why Expo?

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October 8, 2018

A brief history behind large exhibitions, and why they work.

A Career Expo in Marietta, GA, 2011

As Alignment Rockford preps for the Academy Expo, I started to wonder why people do Expos and how they really work. Where did they get their start? Who thought that gathering a large group of people in the same room would have value? 

After doing some of my own research, I found out some interesting facts about Exhibitions and Expositions: 

What is an Expo?

For starters, the word Expo is short for Exposition – which is a large public exhibition or display of art or trade goods. According to the International Bureau of Expositions, “Expos serve to educate the public, share innovation,  promote progress and foster cooperation.”

Since The Great Exposition of 1851 London, Expos are a way to see and be seen. This expo, also known as “The World’s Fair”, originated in the French tradition with the French Industrial Exposition of 1844 held in Paris. This expo was followed by other national exhibitions in Europe and eventually led Prince Albert to help create The World’s Fair. It was the first international exhibition of manufactured produces and influenced the development of several aspects of society, like art and design education, international trade and relations, and tourism. 

The Crystal Palace at the 1851 World's Fair in London

Expo Today

Skip to present day, the word “Expo” has a much broader meaning. The World’s Fair is still going strong, and continues to be the epicenter of international dialogue for progress and cooperation. The next World Expo will be in Dubai in 2020.  

There are other formats of expos that seem to be more common. Trade fairs or trade shows are smaller, localized exhibitions for companies and industries to mingle, showcase and demonstrate their products and services with partners and customers. In Rockford, there are many job fairs, trade shows, career and internship fairs, etc. And like the World’s Fair, these smaller expos seem to accomplish the same goal: to bring people together.  

The Academy Expo

The Academy Expo is a bit more specialized, however. Not only is it a gathering for industry partners, but it’s also a chance for freshman students within the Rockford Public School District to see what careers are out there. Why? Because the Rockford Public Schools have adopted an Academy School model based on a work-based learning continuum. This means that students will choose a category that they’re most interested in and would like to explore during their high school career: Business, Engineering, Health Sciences and Public Service. Within these Academies, students will pick a specific pathway like Business – Marketing or Engineering – Aerospace. 

Then those industries will make appearances throughout the regular coursework to show how to apply courses like math and writing to an actual job. 

This is what the Academy Expo does. It helps students see the industry and talk with real people from that industry so that they’ll be able to make a more informed decision on their Academy and pathway. 

While the concept of an expo might seem odd, packing a lot of people in a room with many competing industries is actually a good thing. It forces conversation and makes the connection between people that otherwise might not have connected. 

If you want to learn more about the Academy Expo or the RPS Academies click the links below! 

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2 days ago

Alignment Rockford

A special shoutout to local high school student and videographer, Tamir Bell! The past several weeks, Tamir has been helping us to develop career awareness videos that will be provided as virtual learning opportunities for RPS 205 high school students.

Tamir is a well-known videographer within the Rockford region. He recently started Tamir Bell Productions and has already built a long resumé of filming famous faces in our community, including Mayor McNamara and State Rep. Maurice West.

Tamir Bell Productions is a video production company that develops business brand videos, testimonials, basketball mixtapes, and much more.

You are awesome, Tamir! Thank you for your sharing your talent and time with us!

#ThankYouThursday #TYT #OpportunitiesForStudents
#CareerAwareness #RockfordRocks #RockfordIL

Photo credit: Tamir Bell Productions
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3 days ago

Alignment Rockford

The pandemic isn’t stopping us from connecting students with area employers! In what would have been the Academy Expo today, we are SO excited to announce that in place of our traditional Expo, we launched nearly 50 career-focused videos for students to connect virtually with area businesses and organizations. From engineering to agriculture - we have so many amazing partners in our region that are willing to support students and their career - and life - goals.

Check out the videos on our YouTube Channel! - www.youtube.com/channel/UC84oBxZvdn8uldUTuhcBhXw
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1 week ago

Alignment Rockford

Thank you, Rockford Fire Department Recruiter, Bo Chaney, for your dedication to supporting Rockford students!

From early childhood learning initiatives to workforce development programs, Bo is volunteering his time to help students of all ages succeed! He is a member of our Ready to Learn Family-Friendly Neighborhoods Team and a member of our Fire Science Industry Council.

FUN FACT: Bo is an educator by trade and author of the children’s book series, “The Adventures of Rob and Rocky,” which helps young children discover a variety of career options.

We love to highlight and share stories of our amazing volunteers and the work they do to make our community a better place to live, work and thrive! Thank you, Bo!

#ThankYouThursday #TYT #OpportunitiesForStudents #RockfordIL #CareerAwareness #RockfordRocks
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