An educator for 26 years, Ronda Brown has a passion for teaching and a strong desire to see her students succeed.
"It's very important for me that the students understand what's out there, and that they have a good future," said Brown.
The world of building trade promises that good future for students who are unsure of their career path.
Held at the Carpenter Training Center of Rockford, dozens of construction businesses set up shop hoping to engage young minds to consider a career in trade.
"Well, hopefully, the students realize today that tehre are many things out there if they don't intend to go to college. There are other avenues that they could take-- the trades being one of them," said Brown.
And it's a familiar avenue for Jemar Smith. Not knowing what he was going to do with his life, Smith decided to give up vocational school for trade school. Smith now works as a bricklayer-- constructing buildings; one brick at a time.
"They need another outlet. There's nothing wrong with working in trade. It's good money." said Smith.
Good money is one factor that's drawing in 8th grader Mahid Watkins.
"If I don't go to college... a job like this would settle. It pays good, and it's something I would like to do," said Watkins.
Watkins says he can see himself working as a welder, and he knows that's possible with the ongoing support from his parents, teachers, and people like Smith.
"To know somebody cares about career options and goals for all the young kids, and they really are caring people," said Smith.