A few weeks ago Kamry Kyles, Student Representative for the Hartford Board of Education and Vice President of the Career Association at Hartford High School shared that the Hartford Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates Initiation and Installation Ceremony would be taking place on Friday, Feb. 10, during the day at the high school.
Michigan House Representative Joey Andrews of the 38th District was the featured guest speaker for the event. Michigan House Representative Beth Griffin, of the 66th District was also slated to attend.
Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates
Hartford students refer to the program as “JMG,” known to them as an elective at Hartford High
School, brought to the district by Youth Solutions. But this “elective” is so much more than that.
Youth Solutions is a statewide nonprofit that focuses efforts to help students find “pathways to education and employment success” per their strategic plan. Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates is the keystone initiative of Youth Solutions. Youth Solutions also works closely with local affiliates to facilitate the program, such as the Michigan Works! BCVB, serving Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties.
Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates is an affiliate of the national Jobs for America’s Graduates which is a program that helps young people achieve their fullest potential. Specifically, the program is designed to provide comprehensive services that enable young people to complete secondary schooling and graduate. Then they have the opportunity to receive follow up services for a year to support their transitions into their next step, whether that is employment, post-secondary schooling or even military service.
Initiation & Installation
Annually the Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates host an Initiation and Installation ceremony to induct the students into the network of other Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates students and alumni. Being a member provides them with a connection to a larger cohort of peers than just their local class of students.
This year’s ceremony was held Feb. 10 in the Hartford auditorium. One hundred students received their certificate for the 2022-2023 program; this included 10 freshman, 24 sophomores, 27 juniors, and 38 seniors. Kyles noted this was the largest ceremony that the program has had to date.
Hartford Career Association
The induction ceremony was emceed by the Career Association President and Vice President; Brooke Modro and Kamryn Kyles, respectively, and Hartford JMG instructor Jocelynne Braddock. They also had guest speakers Michigan House Representative Joey Andrews and Rick Ward with migrant services. The Career Association makes up 16 of the 100 inductees.
Other JMG activities
These students do more than just “earn an elective credit” they earn a mindset and a work ethic to take into the rest of their life. In 2022, Hartford 2022 Graduate, Irais Cortez was one of only two Youth Solutions’ “Youth of the Year” awardees from all the JMG programs state-wide. Cortez noted in her speech the instrumental role that Hartford’s JMG Specialist Jocelynne Braddock plays in their JMG experience and growth each year. The leadership skills they earn in this program are with them forever.
The program does many service projects throughout the year. This past fall the Hartford JMG program volunteered for Rake a Difference and even won an award for most creative photo. They have hosted blood drives each year and this year are slated to host three. Two take place in November and January, and the third is planned for May 2. In January they surpassed their goal number of donations.
On Feb. 22, 2023, six students from Hartford’s JMG program had planned to travel to Lansing for Legislative Day, although the turbulent February weather had thwarted that trip for our local students.
Learn more about Youth Solutions and Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates program at their website; ouryouthsolutions.org. As well, follow the Hartford program and their growth and adventures on Facebook at facebook.com/JMGHartford; “Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates-Hartford HS & AE-Ms. Braddock.”