Behind the scenes at several local high schools, specialists work to help equip students with the skills they need to overcome barriers and find success in education, employment, and as community members. Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) specialists have been in place at many Michigan schools, including in Char-Em ISD at Crooked Tree High School, an alternative program, and Pellston and East Jordan High Schools during the 2022-23 school year – a number which will expand in 2023-24.  At the annual JMG National Training Seminar in July 2023, local staff and programs from last school year were recognized for their efforts with students, said Susan Ward, Youth Services Director for the JMG program, which is administered through Northwest Michigan Works!

“The Char-EM ISD JMG program earned six of six recognitions for exceeding the program’s six key performance metrics at all three local programs,” said Ward. “I was so proud to see our programs recognized at this level. It is a remarkable achievement.” The metrics for recognition include:

  • A 100 percent graduation rate
  • 92 percent full-time positive outcomes for high school students (any combination of employment, education, and/or military service that equal 30+ hours per week)
  • 75 percent employment rate
  • 77 percent full-time employment rate
  • 86 percent “further education rate” (includes credentials earned in high school, as well as 2- and 4- year trade schools)
  • 100 percent connectivity rate, gauged by the ability to connect meaningfully with youth each month
Tracy Beckley is pictured center (5th from left, black sweater).

Tracy Beckley is pictured center (5th from left, black sweater).

Tracy Beckley is one of the JMG specialists who serviced the three schools last school year as an employee of Michigan Works, in partnership with Char-Em ISD’s Career and Technical Education Department. Beckley earned the “Living our Values Leadership Award,” a recognition at the state and national levels.

“These results wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and collaboration between all of the JMG staff, the Char-Em ISD and career and technical education team, our district educators, and the community,” said Beckley. “Plus, of course, the work of our fantastic students.There is nothing better than seeing them reach their goals.”

Jim Rummer, Director of Career and Technical Education for Char-Em ISD, was also recognized. He received both the High Performer and JMG Impact Awards for his work and dedication to expanding the JMG program. Starting this school year, 2023-24, Char-Em ISD’s districts will be served by five additional JMG specialists, along with Beckley. All 11 local public school districts will have a specialist working with their students, said Rummer. Funding for these positions comes in part from the Career and Technical Education millage that has been approved by voters in four-year increments since 1996.

“The expansion of JMG is going to provide incredible opportunities for our students, and in particular our students who need some extra support as they near graduation and that important life transition,” said Rummer. “Our partnership with Northwest Michigan Works! is very much appreciated, as is the support of the Char-Em ISD Board of Education, ISD superintendent Scott Koziol, and the superintendents of our 11 local public school districts. Their excitement and interest in expanding this program helped light the fire to make it happen.”

Jim Rummer is pictured with his recognition plaques.Rummer’s JMG Impact Award reads, “To Jim Rummer for your unwavering dedication to expanding access to the Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates program. Your advocacy led to the passage of a millage supporting JMG expansion, empowering more students with the vital career skills and experiences needed to achieve a future beyond imagination…”

In honoring Rummer with the High Performer Award, the national Jobs for America’s (JAG) Board of Directors noted, “Jim Rummer is recognized for his unwavering commitment to expanding access to the JMG program within Char-Em ISD… Jim’s exceptional leadership and commitment to student success will leave a lasting impact on the lives of countless individuals within the Char-Em ISD community.”

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