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...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 May 24, 2022, after a 2 year hiatus due to Covid, the second MiCareerQuest™ Northeast event once again introduced students to in-demand careers in northeast Michigan. The hands-on, career exploration event coordinated by Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium targeted 6th-12th grade students, offering interactive exhibits in construction, healthcare, manufacturing, and technology. The event was held at the Industrial Arts Institute in Onaway, MI.

The 2022 MiCareerQuest Northeast event was attended by over 900 students from 22 schools across the 11 county region (Alpena, Alcona, Cheboygan, Crawford, Iosco, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, and Roscommon). The event featured 48 exhibiting organizations, showcasing more than 125 in-demand occupations. Over 75 volunteers from Michigan Works! agencies, partner organizations, local community groups, and businesses assisted with the event to make sure everything ran smoothly. More than 150 working professionals participated in the event, volunteering their time and eager to share their passion for their respective industries.

Student feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with statements such as:

  • “I got to get a feel for jobs I hadn’t really considered before the event”

  • “everyone was so friendly and some people were really excited about their careers”

  • “amazing experience, I just wish I had more time to try more things!”

  • “I hope we can go every year”

  • “I loved the exhibits that let us do hands-on activities”

  • “I could have spent my whole day here”

  • “this was such a cool experience for all the students, especially the ones that didn’t know what they want to do after high school”

  • “I always used to say that I’d never want a job in the medical field, but after going on this trip, I’ve actually realized that I’m extremely interested in these careers!”

Posen student Shelby Donajkowski said, “MiCareerQuest provided knowledge on tons of different careers, some of which I have never even heard about. I liked the engagement and the way employers made learning about each career exciting and fun. I wish I had more time to visit each station. I had so much fun and the different prizes, educational pamphlets, and hands-on equipment was amazing!”

“The event was so incredibly organized and all of the volunteers were so friendly. The professionals worked so well with our students and kept them engaged and interested. This experience was extremely impactful in that it provided opportunities for our students to peer into the life of a working professional in high-demand industries. We felt so energized after attending and are so thankful to have had the chance to participate!” – Adrianne Dodd, teacher with Wolverine Schools

“This was an amazing opportunity for the schools and students to participate in. I wish that something like this would have been around when I was in high school. I would highly recommend this to any school.” – Tairah Jasman, exhibitor from MyMichigan Health

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