...a hands-on career readiness event for middle and high school students created to inspire and direct young people to viable careers in high-demand occupations and to address the need for future talent.

MiCareerQuest is an employer-driven event. Employer Champions - assisted by Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium staff - drive employer participation and the creation of student activities/exhibits. There is no cost to students or exhibitors to participate in the event.

MiCareerQuest engages students through one-on-one conversations with professionals and hands-on activities that allow students to experience and hopefully, spark an interest in, the various careers. Regional ISDs help to drive student participation.


Students will rotate through quadrants highlighting four industries: Manufacturing, Construction, Healthcare, and Technology. They will have appx 20 minutes per quadrant to participate in hands-on, interactive exhibits showcasing various occupations and tools-of-the-trade. Students engage in conversations with professionals who do these jobs every day, opening students' eyes to opportunities for great careers in Northeast Michigan. Participation in all quadrants is mandatory.


Employer Champions for each industry work with regional employers to develop interactive exhibits highlighting the industry and utilizing the tools-of-the-trade. Exhibits should be fun and engaging for ages 13-18, illustrating some aspect of the career they are highlighting.

Unlike career expos and job fairs, this event isn't meant to hand out corporate marketing materials or advertise job openings, but to introduce the workforce of tomorrow to opportunities they may never have known existed and get them excited about the industries.  

Tips for Creating a Great Exhibit


There is no cost to individual employers or students to participate in MiCareerQuest. The costs associated with hosting MiCareerQuest are covered by post-secondary educators and event sponsors who understand the importance of exposing young people to career opportunities in our region. In addition to industry funding and sponsorships, MiCareerQuest relies on in-kind donations and volunteers. MiCareerQuest offers a wide variety of opportunities for businesses and organizations to invest in the future of Northeast Michigan.

MiCareerQuest 2019 received a large amount of funding from the Talent Investment Agency and the Regional Prosperity Initiative. These avenues of funding are not available for 2022, so it is imperative that we obtain sponsorships to continue offering the students of northeast Michigan this great event.

Your sponsorship of MiCareerQuest 2022 will provide important, one-of-a-kind exposure to career opportunities to hundreds of students. Your support will affirm your commitment to preparing our youth for viable careers AND lifelong learning. 


MiCareerQuest™ was created in 2015 by West Michigan Works!, Kent ISD, and the Construction Workforce Development Alliance (CWDA) in response to employers' need for future talent in Construction, Healthcare, Information Technology, and Manufacturing.

I cannot get 9,000 students into my company alone, but what I can do is collaborate with my peers and my competitors and my educators and I can showcase the industry, in a way that's far beyond anything that I can do as an individual.

- Laura Elsner, Workforce Development Manager, DeWys Manufacturing

MiCareerQuest was an amaxing opportunity for students to discover fields they have never heard of, and being able to associate that work with a local company makes it much more "real" to them. A teen who thought she might have a career in mind now has a half-dozen possibilities.

- Teacher Participant

With an aging workforce on the brink of retirement, employers are concerned about their future workforce. We need to expose youth to a variety of occupations and career pathways now, so they're aware of all the career possibilities that exist in our high-demand industries. MCQ allows students to talk with professionals, ask questions, use the tools of the trade. It gets them thinking about what kind of work might appeal to them and informs decisions impacting their future.

- Jacob Maas, Executive Director, West Michigan Works!





On Tuesday, May 28, eager students from across northeast Michigan participated in the first MiCareerQuest Northeast hands-on career exploration event. MiCareerQuest Northeast is the largest one-day, career exploration event for high school students ever held in the region. The event was coordinated by Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium and was held at the Industrial Arts Institute in Onaway, MI.

Over 1,000 students from 22 schools in an 11 county region (Cheboygan, Presque Isle, Alpena, Alcona, Cheboygan, Montmorency, Otsego, Oscoda, Crawford, Ogemaw, Roscommon, and Iosco) attended MiCareerQuest Northeast. During their MiCareerQuest experience, students got a chance to participate in hands-on simulations and demonstrations in a variety of in-demand careers. The event was open to students grades 6-12.

MiCareerQuest Northeast featured 50 exhibiting organizations, showcasing more than 125 in-demand occupations in four industry quadrants: construction, healthcare, manufacturing, and technology. The purpose of the event was to create awareness of the rewarding jobs available in northeast Michigan, many of which have a talent shortage today and are anticipated to have even greater demand in the future.

Over 80 volunteers from Michigan Works! agencies, partner organizations, local community groups, and other groups assisted with the event to make sure everything ran smoothly.

More than 200 working professionals participated in the event, volunteering their time and eager to share their passion for their respective industries. Exhibitors spent the past several months designing interactive demonstrations designed to engage students and highlight the skills needed to succeed.

"This was my favorite field trip I've ever had! It was the best!" said Jackson, a Gaylord St. Mary's student.

"It was amazing," agreed a Johannesburg-Lewiston student. "So many hands on activities and we got to pick what interested us. I have some ideas now on what I might want to be."

"I can't express how amazing this opportunity was for our Inland Lakes students," said Elizabeth Fairbanks. "It was so helpful for our college and career goals discussions."

"The best job fair I have ever been to!" said Michael Ratz, Secondary Science Teacher at Wolverine Schools. "The hand on experiences the students and myself were able to do were amazing. Really puts things into perspective."

"This was a very well organized day," said Pam Handrich, Special Education Teacher at Fairview Schools. "Our students really enjoyed the experience."