The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has announced a new partnership with a network of 10 community colleges, including Kalamazoo Valley, that will promote training opportunities for in-demand careers to Michigan high school students. Diane Finch, former Director of Career and Student Employment Services for Kalamazoo Valley, is now a career liaison specialist with the Career Jump Start program. Her office is still located at the Texas Township campus. She will be reaching out to area high school counselors, students, and parents informing them about post-secondary education and training options, in-demand jobs, and offering career guidance.
Finch’s territory includes Kalamazoo, Van Buren, Calhoun, Branch, St. Joseph, Cass and Berrien counties. Finch will begin by researching what’s already being done in the region to inform students about post-secondary educational options. “I am passionate about exposing students to careers through events such as Career Days, Job Shadowing, or an actual experiential learning opportunity,” Finch said. “I'll be looking to partner with individuals and organizations to make these experiences happen for our students. "I believe that when students see first-hand what a job entails, not just reading about it, they have an easier time connecting the dots and seeing what is possible. When they can see how it applies to real life, then they can get excited. Their goals become clearer and they are more apt to follow through and reach goals when they can actually see their future.”
Created as a response to feedback received at the Governor's Economic and Education Summits held earlier this year, the Career Jump Start Program is intended to address the critical talent gap facing Michigan employers by promoting high-demand career paths to students. Through a network of Michigan's community colleges, Michigan Works! agencies, employers, trade unions, Chambers and other key organizations, the initiative will educate high school students about associate degree programs, apprenticeships and other training opportunities for occupations that are in high demand by employers.
"Talent is the new currency in economic development. By making Michigan students aware of today's high-demand jobs and the training programs that will prepare them for those jobs, we are ensuring the continued growth of Michigan's economy," said Michael A. Finney, president and CEO of the MEDC. "Career Jump Start is focused on meeting employer needs and will support ways to connect employers, educators and students, building Michigan's workforce together."
The regional career liaisons will be housed at the following organizations: Alpena Community College, Bay de Noc Community College, Delta College, Grand Rapids Community College, Jackson College, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Lansing Community College, Mott Community College, North Central Michigan College, and The Workforce Intelligence Network.
To learn more about the Career Jump Start program, visit Career Jump Start<.