Approximately 250 students from across the state joined employers, community volunteers and key stakeholders in Lansing on Thursday, March 29 to compete in events showcasing employability and leadership skills for Michigan’s Graduates Career Development Conference (CDC). Students from River Rouge High School, Starkweather Academy and Hartford High School took home the day’s top honors.

The annual CDC is a capstone of Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates’ (JMG) year-long programming, allowing students the opportunity to demonstrate employability skills learned throughout the program. During the event, volunteers from across the state judged employment-inspired competitive events, such as interviewing skills, problem solving and public speaking; all aimed at preparing students for the workplace. 

JMG, a program of Youth Solutions, Inc., equips young people with the skills needed to overcome barriers and ensures Michigan’s youth win in education, employment and as citizens. JMG is building a youth talent pipeline from high school graduation into employment for over 2,900 young people across 43 Michigan cities. 

According to Kristin Harrington, executive director of Youth Solutions, the future for Michigan’s youth is filled with opportunity, energy and promise. In her opening remarks, Harrington commented on her satisfaction in knowing “Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates has created a comprehensive and collaborative way for young people to ‘win,’ with outcomes and impact that have laid a crucial foundation for Michigan’s talent re-awakening.” These outcomes include a 98 percent statewide graduation rate and 71 percent of graduates going onto employment. 

Harrington sited a robust partnership with the State’s Department of Talent and Economic Development (TED), most recently around Governor Snyder’s “Marshall Plan for Talent,” as a crucial partnership in the ongoing success of JMG programming. 


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