A Publication of WTVP

“Caterpillar’s support is vibrant throughout Peoria Public Schools and visible throughout our 27 buildings,” Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, superintendent of Peoria Public Schools, recently shared with me. “There are over 13,000 students enrolled in our district who are positively impacted by Caterpillar through mentorship, innovation and financial support.”

Caterpillar is proud to support Peoria Public Schools and the key initiatives being led by the school district. We are dedicated to improving the lives of our students who are most in need and removing barriers to their success.

We’re currently entering the second year of our three-year commitment to support Alignment Peoria, an exciting opportunity for the district. School districts adopting the Alignment model face extraordinarily complex issues, which are often addressed independently by a myriad of agencies. Alignment is unique because of the integrated toolset which builds collaboration among schools, agencies and businesses, and produces a greater return on investment. The work is performed by teams comprised of school district leaders and community leaders (business, government, nonprofit), who are charged with addressing specific goals in the school district’s strategic plan.

Caterpillar is also a proud supporter of Peoria Pathways to Prosperity, which is designed to ensure that more students finish high school and are prepared to earn a degree or required credentials recognized by employers. Despite eight out of 10 Illinois jobs requiring more than just a high school diploma, fewer and fewer high school students are graduating—and the percentage of those who do earn a two- or four-year degree is decreasing. We believe this initiative benefits the Greater Peoria area.

We have also provided direct funding to Manual Academy’s STEM lab, with the hopes of opening students’ eyes to careers in manufacturing. Graduates of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields are a critical piece of the Caterpillar talent pipeline, as well as many other employers in the area. Today, we have thousands of engineers and technologists developing innovative solutions for our customers. Continuing this pace of innovation requires a sustainable pipeline of technical talent.

Caterpillar is invested in the development of our region’s youth—the next generation of bright talent who will continue to lead our communities forward. We know the importance of being a partner with our communities. There are countless stories of students whose lives have been changed by just one teacher… one opportunity. We’re trying to give teachers and the schools more tools that provide more opportunities for students to learn—so they can find that spark that instills hope for their future.

The collaboration with our school districts, city leaders and local businesses to invest in our region’s youth is incredible and should be a model for other cities to follow. Caterpillar is proud to be a part of this. iBi

Henry Vicary is Guest and Community Relations Director for Caterpillar Inc.