FACT: 37.5 million Boomers will retire in the next decade. 21 million emerging workers will enter the workforce to replace them. What are we, as a region, doing to encourage our youth to choose careers in Northeast Michigan’s high-demand industries?
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! targeted 6th-12th grade students, offering interactive exhibits in construction, healthcare, manufacturing, and technology. The purpose of the event is to create awareness of the rewarding careers available in northeast Michigan, many of which have a talent shortage today and are anticipated to have even greater demand in the future. 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
MiCareerQuest is unlike anything most students have experienced before. At MiCareerQuest, students explore four industry quadrants and get to touch/feel/use actual tools, machines, and materials that they’d encounter during a day working in that industry. In addition to interactive exhibits, students had the opportunity to talk one-on-one with experts from the region’s high-demand occupations, learning not only what to expect in a standard “day on the job”, but also learning about the many opportunities available for good careers in northeast Michigan.
Participation in MiCareerQuest Northeast is free for exhibitors and students. The costs associated with hosting MiCareerQuest are covered by a variety of event sponsors who understand the importance of exposing young people to career opportunities in our region. Special thanks to our 2022 Main Event Sponsors - Iosco RESA and Northeast Michigan Regional Prosperity Initiative. This event is only possible because of the hard work and commitment of our exhibitors and volunteers, and the generous support of event sponsors.