GED and Career Prep program proving successful

MANISTEE — Getting the necessary education is the first step for any person seeking a GED diploma, but the all important second step is using it to go on to college or find a good job.

The Jobs for Michigan's Graduates (JMG) Career Readiness program students are shown visiting the Next Generation Learning Center. Shown are  Kaitlyn Lata, Sidney May, James Schoedel, Jesmine Steffes and Kelsey Momberto.

The Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) Career Readiness program students are shown visiting the Next Generation Learning Center. Shown are Kaitlyn Lata, Sidney May, James Schoedel, Jesmine Steffes and Kelsey Momberto.

The Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) Career Readiness program is designed to help the 17 to 24 year old age group and is finding good success in Manistee County. The program is being offered in collaboration with the Northwest Michigan Works! Adult Education Lab and heading up the program is JMG specialist Cheryl Wolfram.

Federal funding for the program comes from Kinexus. There are numerous programs of this kind around the state, and locally they have 11 people taking part in it.

“The JMG Career Readiness program is available to young adults who are serious about completing a GED and finding gainful employment,” said Wolfram. “This is what we call an out-of-school cohort where they are learning career development to go alongside the GED.”

Wolfram said the number of students has been on the rise since October, but more have signed on.

“Since then, we have grown to a larger group, and have made some good progress,” said Wolfram.

One of the many components of the program is to take talent tours of area businesses so the students get the opportunity to see the types of careers that are available in this area.

“We have taken talent tours of Amor Sign Studios, the Vogue Theatre, and the Next Generation Learning Center. Our participants are also making good progress on their GED and/or high school diploma in the Adult Education Learning Lab,” said Wolfram. “Two of our participants were hired into full-time positions after a talent tour and resume prep sessions.”

Wolfram said the group meets once a week starting early in the morning so the students have time to spend in the lab on their studies.

“Another component of the JMG is to do community activities so visiting the Vogue Theatre was an opportunity for members of the program to learn about volunteering,” said Wolfram.

Many of the trips are geared toward where the members of the group have employment interests.

“I would like to do a tour of the jail because that is where one of our students would like a career working in corections,” said Wolfram. “So we look for career interests that the students have and then try to set up a talent tour about that career. That is why we went to the Next Generation Learning Center, because two of our students have interest in working there.”

Once they receive their GED those in the program go into the Workforce Investment Act to do job training or development.

“That is the flow we are looking for as it goes from the GED into training or a job,” said Wolfram. “We support that through Michigan Works!”

For Sidney May the program is something that will hopefully bring better job opportunties.

“I just wanted to finish my GED because I wanted to get into college to get into a good job,” said May.

Kyler Ensley said for him it is an opportunity to finish his education and to move on to the next level.

“I wanted to do it because I wanted to finish out school and get at least a GED because I couldn’t get my high school diploma,” said Ensley   “It’s easier to get a job with some kind of education.”

Everyone has a different reason for coming to the program.

“I wasn’t able to finish up school because I was moving around and you can’t really get a job without a GED or a diploma, so that is why I wanted to be in this program,” said Kaleb Stewart.

For Kaitlyn Lata the program is something she feels will give her the opportunity to find employment to help her family.

“I have two kids and am doing this for them, so I can get a good job,” she said.

All of them hope the end result will be that diploma and then moving on to college or a job as the next step.

 

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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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