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Save the date! ~ Thursday, May 15, 2025 - The Ellison Place, Gaylord, MI




...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.

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 amazing 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 16, 2024, MiCareerQuest™ Northeast introduced students to in-demand careers in northeast Michigan. The hands-on, career exploration event coordinated by Michigan Works! targeted 8th-12th grade students, offering interactive exhibits in construction, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and technology. The purpose of the event is to create awareness of the rewarding careers available throughout our region, many of which have a talent shortage today and are anticipated to have even greater demand in the future. This year the event was held at the Ellison Place in Gaylord, MI.

Over 1200 students from 22 schools across the 11-county region (Alpena, Alcona, Cheboygan, Crawford, Iosco, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, and Roscommon) attended. The event featured 71 exhibiting organizations, showcasing more than 125 in-demand occupations. Over 65 volunteers from Michigan Works! agencies, partner organizations, local community groups, and businesses assisted with the event to make sure everything ran smoothly. More than 350 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:

  • “MiCareerQuest allowed me to explore a variety of careers and speak to professionals who could mentor me and nurture my interests.”

  • “I appreciated the effort the staff and the attendees put into the event, it was a spectacular event the sheer size of it was a lot!”

  • “I loved seeing and hearing the passion the people had for their jobs!”

  • “I liked that the hands on experience gave me a more in depth reality of the possible job choices.”

  • “Everyone was super helpful and very kind. I loved that I could try stuff out out of my comfort zone and the people told me it’s okay if I couldn’t do it. The whole setting was awesome - definitely the most fun I’ve had learning!”

  • “There were a great variety of careers showcased. Everyone I spoke to answered all my questions and were easy to talk to.”


“All of us at Vanderbilt Area School greatly appreciate the effort coordinators put into making this an outstanding opportunity for our students! We appreciate our students being exposed to careers they may not have otherwise considered and the focus on local employment opportunities.” – Cody Ferrier, Secondary Lead Teacher, Vanderbilt Schools

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