Students from across the state visit elected officials to advocate for the program and their communities
Lansing, Mich. – More than 100 young people from across Michigan made their way to the state capital last week to take part in Youth Solutions Legislative Days. The annual event connected youth with their local legislators to discuss issues in their communities and share the impact of Jobs for Michigan Graduates (JMG), the premier program of Youth Solutions. JMG equips young people with the skills needed to overcome barriers and succeed in education, employment, and life.
“My original career goal was to be a criminal investigator, but after Legislative Days, I want to consider a career in politics,” said Bianca Lopez, a senior at Hartford High School. “I love the idea of sharing my own opinion to make my state a better place.“
Legislative Days allow students to demonstrate the communication, professionalism, and employability skills learned throughout the year through JMG. The event gives students the opportunity to voice their opinions on topics such as mental health resources and rural internet infrastructure.
“Meeting the legislators in Lansing was a great opportunity, and I was excited to be able to participate. It made me proud that I was able to both represent myself and ask important questions,” said Arriya Douglas from GST Michigan Works!. “I realize that legislators are just like us, with goals and ideas that they would like to achieve for the good of our community. This is an experience I will always remember.”
During the two-day event, JMG youth visited the Capitol building, connected with other JMG youth from around the state, and attended meetings with legislators from their district. In addition, four elected officials were honored with the JMG Legislative Champion Award, an annual recognition for the ongoing support of the work of Youth Solutions. Those honored were Representative Tom Albert R-District 86, Senator Stephanie Chang D-District 1, Representative John Cherry D-District 49, and Senator Aric Nesbitt R-District 26.
In addition, Legislative Days offered inspiration and motivation for JMG youth and staff. Senator Chang and Representative Beth Griffin R-District 66 took part in a Q&A, telling their stories, highlighting the importance of JMG, and discussing topics that impact youth and Michigan.
“For many of the youth who are part of JMG, this is their first experience speaking to their local, elected officials,” said Mollie Waller, executive director of Youth Solutions. “This is a great opportunity for them to have their voice heard, learn how the government works, and practice the skills they’ve learned through JMG. It’s also a time where we can thank our legislators who continually champion young people facing barriers and helping them succeed.”
The event was made possible thanks to our sponsors, Michigan College Access Network (MCAN), Lyons Industries, DCI Marketing, and WestRock, and the support from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO).
About Youth Solutions, Inc. Inspiring and connecting youth to achieve a future beyond imagination, Youth Solutions is committed to providing Michigan’s youth with the desire for an education, the experiences that prepare them for a job or career, and the tools to realize their potential. Youth Solutions was established as a 501(c)3 in 2017 but has been serving in this capacity since 2008, positively impacting more than 22,000 youth ages 14-24 across Michigan. For more information about Youth Solutions, Inc. or to become a partner, visit us at www.ouryouthsolutions.org, follow us on Twitter @JobsforMIGrads, or “like” us on Facebook at @JobsforMichigansGraduates.
About Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates. As the premier program of Youth Solutions, Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) is offered at over 100 locations across the state and helps young people succeed in their education while providing the path to a productive future. JMG is the Michigan affiliate of the national Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) network, one of the largest and most successful student-centered programs that help young people achieve their fullest potential.