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Students Learn About Local Careers at MiCareerQuest Northeast 2024

GAYLORD – May 16 - The 2024 MiCareerQuest Northeast annual career-exploration event was held at the Ellison Place in Gaylord on May 16th. Over 1,200 students, grades 8-12, from 22 schools across the 11-county region attended. The event featured 90 exhibits offering hands-on, interactive career exploration in industries such as healthcare, construction, manufacturing, public safety, technology, and more. More than 350 working professionals participated in the event, volunteering their time and eager to share their passion for their respective industries. This event is coordinated by Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium and wouldn’t be possible without event sponsors including the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity, the Northeast Michigan MiSTEM Network, and Laborers’ Local 1098.

This annual event provided a platform for students to engage with industry professionals and participate in interactive experiences. Each exhibit provided students with a hands-on activity and an opportunity to talk with professionals about their career paths and the skills and education needed to succeed in those fields.

With 37.5 million baby boomers set to retire in the next decade and only 21 million new workers entering the workforce, MiCareerQuest has a critical role in addressing the talent pipeline for Michigan's high-demand industries.

“One of our goals is to introduce students to the career possibilities available right here in northeast Michigan,” says Alicia Wallace, Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium Marketing Manager and coordinator of the event. “This event is a career day on steroids – we pull employers from across the region, including state agencies such as the State Police, Forensics Department, DNR, National Weather Service, EGLE, U.S. Military, etc, to really give the students a taste of the career opportunities available in the industry, not just what positions are currently open with a local employer. Students can experience careers that may or may not require a college degree, including many careers they didn’t even know existed. These students are the talent pipeline of our future; MiCareerQuest serves as a bridge that prepares students for rewarding careers and ensures our industries have the skilled workforce they need to thrive.”

Student and educator feedback was overwhelmingly positive:

  • MiCareerQuest allowed me to explore a variety of careers and speak to professionals who could mentor me and nurture my interests. -  David W., Gaylord St. Mary

  • 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! -  Xavier A., Atlanta

  • 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! -  Wyatt C., Cheboygan

  • I liked that the hands-on experience gave me a more in-depth reality of the possible job choices. -  Savannah B., Cheboygan

  • There were a great variety of careers showcased. Everyone I spoke to answered all my questions and were easy to talk to. -  Jenni S., Fairview

  • The people were kind and respectful. All the exhibits were really cool, and 90% of them were engaging. I really enjoyed it and hope to come back next time. – Colton L., Alpena

  • I loved seeing and hearing the passion the people had for their jobs! -  Sophia W., Johannesburg-Lewiston

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

  • We love the hands-on activities and opportunity to talk with college representatives and industry leaders/representatives. I like that students are required to visit all four quadrants because they have such limited exposure to and knowledge of the vast number of career options available to them. - Michele Eising, Teacher, Atlanta Schools


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