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Jobs for grads a worthy investment

Michigan has many precious resources — our Great Lakes, our can-do spirit, and our reputation for innovation, to name a few.

But our most precious resource remains our people.

For Michigan to prosper in the future, we must invest in our young people to build the talent pipeline that will build our individuals, our businesses, and our communities.

Eleven years ago, Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG), part of the national Jobs for America’s Graduates, began in Michigan. Last year, they served 3,000 at-risk youth across the state with a 98% graduation rate for dropout prevention programming. That compares with a statewide graduation rate of 81%.

Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium has been a proud partner of JMG serving youth across Northeast Michigan for the past five years.

Thanks to state Sens. Jim Stamas, Wayne Schmidt, and Curt VanderWall and Reps. Lee Chatfield, Triston Cole and Sue Allor, JMG can continue to benefit our state’s youth and particularly the young people serviced by Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium.

As the budget discussions move toward finalization, we appreciate the ongoing support of our local legislators. They see the value that JMG has on our youth, our future workforce. Moreover, we are excited to partner with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on her “60 by 30” goal to increase the number of Michiganders with a post-secondary credential or degree to 60% by 2030.

JMG is an ideal program for our organization to support this goal, as it consistently delivers on aggressive education and employment outcomes for our communities most in-need young people.

JMG introduces youth to the many options available to them once they graduate, including post-secondary education, employment and/or the military. They do it by creating a unique partnership between Michigan Works! organizations, schools, businesses, and communities. JMG teaches students success and employability skills — things like critical thinking, communication, teamwork, financial literacy, and leadership, among other necessary for their further education and careers.

JMG, through its national affiliation with Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), has been recognized as achieving some of the highest results nationwide.

The life-changing stories surrounding JMG are incredible testimony to what can happen when we work together and invest in Michigan’s youth. Thank you again for your support and for helping us make a huge difference in our community.

Marisue Moreau is director of the Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium.