Junior Achievement program returns to Manistee County

MANISTEE — There was a time years ago in Manistee County when Junior Achievement programs were held in many county schools.

Matt LaMore is shown teaching the new Junior Achievement class at Manistee Catholic Central. Efforts are being made through Launch Manistee begin a new Junior Achievement program in Manistee County to help prepare students for the workforce.

Matt LaMore is shown teaching the new Junior Achievement class at Manistee Catholic Central. Efforts are being made through Launch Manistee begin a new Junior Achievement program in Manistee County to help prepare students for the workforce.

Junior Achievement is a program for students that gives them the necessary tools and skills that are required to earn and keep a job in high growth career industries. However, with required curriculun taxing the school districts’ classroom time, the program slowly disappeared locally.

Launch Manistee has now began a pilot program for the Junior Achievement at Manistee Catholic Central. Launch Manistee program director Mary Ann Behm said they are hoping this will be the first step in revitalizing a program locally in more school districts.

“I became aware that Junior Achievement is basically housed in Traverse City and serves a 10-county area including Manistee,” said Behm. “They really hadn’t had a presence in Manistee County, so they reached out to me, because they work on a lot of the same things that Launch Manistee does.”

Behm said when Manistee Catholic Central school officials heard about the program, they expressed an interest in offering it at their high school.

“The class they are doing at MCC is called ‘Career Success,'” said Behm. “It really aligns with what Launch Manistee is doing as well, so I am hoping that Junior Achievement can be a good partner with us and other area schools in the future. It’s nice to have those resources as they are national organization dedicated to students, so it is nice have their expertise in those areas and to come in.”

Callesen and Associates’ Matt LaMore, who is a former teacher at Manistee Catholic Central, will be teaching a class called “Career Success” to the students.

The program he will teach focuses on the following topics:

* 4C’s: Critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity;

* Strong soft skills;

* Work priorities;

* Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and other high growth industries;

* Personal brand and job hunting tools, resumes, cover letters, interviews and digital profiles.

“It uses volunteers and gets community members into the schools and they do have a set curriculum that they use, so we know that it is a good program,” said Behm. “They have different programs that we can look at doing. I like bringing things in that have been successful in other areas, and we just want to mirror that success in Manistee.”

LaMore said he is looking forward to working with students.

“It’s a seven part series that will focus on the kids developing their creativity and creative thinking, so they are more employable,” said LaMore. “It  moves into learning soft skills for learning and on the job. Then we are going to learn about what careers are hiring right now and in the next four of five years after they graduate. They are also are going talk about their own personal brand when they are job hunting.”

MCC Dean of Students Ed Kolanowski said the program has been a nice addition for the school.

“We are piloting the program here and Matt being a former teacher, who is now working in the business world, is a perfect fit to teach this program,” said Kolanowski.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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