MiCareerQuest connects 8,000 students with hands-on exploration into future career opportunities

What happened: Over 8,000 middle and high school students from across West Michigan experienced more than 300 high-demand careers first-hand at this year's MiCareerQuest, held at the DeVos Place Convention Center on March 27. The annual event provided a platform for students to engage with industry professionals and participate in interactive experiences across five high-demand sectors.
How they did it: MiCareerQuest featured 121 exhibits from 111 employers in advanced manufacturing, construction, health sciences, information technology, and agribusiness. Each exhibit provided students with a hands-on activity and an opportunity to talk with professionals about their career paths and the skills and education needed to succeed in those fields.
Why’s it important: With 37.5 million baby boomers set to retire in the next decade and only 21 million new workers entering the workforce, MiCareerQuest has a critical role in addressing the talent pipeline for Michigan's high-demand industries.
What they are saying: "As we continue to find solutions for future talent gaps, it is critical to engage the next generation of talent with the high-demand industries that drive Michigan's economy," says Jacob Maas, CEO of West Michigan Works!. "MiCareerQuest is pivotal in building this connection, serving as a bridge that prepares students for rewarding careers and ensures our industries have the skilled workforce they need to thrive.”
Who took part: The event attracted students from 87 schools in Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Muskegon, and Ottawa counties. 

Students learned what it's like to be a cyber security engineer, electric vehicle engineer, heavy equipment operator, maintenance technician, 3-D scanning technician, plant tissue culture lab tech, food safety inspector, surgical technician, optician and more by interacting with the professionals who do these jobs every day.
“One of our goals is to open students to what possible careers are out there, and MiCareerQuest really fits that bill,”  says Nathon Kelley, school board president, Allegan Public Schools. “Students can go around and experience careers that may or may not require a four-year college degree, including many careers they didn’t even know existed.”

Photos courtesy of West Michigan Works!
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