WATERVILLE– With five new Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) programs established in the greater Bangor area this fall, this year’s Career Development Conference (CDC) was the largest student event ever hosted by JMG. Nearly 700 students from across Maine, including a large contingent from Bangor, Brewer, Old Town, Orono, Hampden and Hermon high schools took part Tuesday, March 27, in a high stress career skills competition at Thomas College.
“JMG works with students from grades six all the way through postsecondary education and into the workforce, giving them the opportunity to acquire the employability skills that are in demand by Maine employers,” said Kelsi Whelden, the JMG Specialist at Orono High School. “CDC gives students the chance to show they are ready for the next step after high school.”
Whether that next step is college, a trade school, an internship, apprenticeship or right into a job, CDC tests just how ready they are. Students went head-to-head in a variety of contests including Public- Speaking, STEM, Marketing, Communications and more. These competitions highlight important career skills including leadership, problem solving, critical thinking and time management. Over 100 volunteers from businesses throughout Maine donated their time to act as judges and facilitators for the events.
Along with the competitions, students networked with businesses and colleges in the College & Career Expo. Several students were awarded college scholarships from the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, the Procter & Gamble Scholarship Fund,and the Andrew L. Hutchins Scholarship Fund.
For a lot of students, like Moe Pelletier, a junior at Orono High School, being at CDC meant getting a chance to showcase his hard work and accomplishments. “My classmates and I spent weeks getting ready for these competitions; getting ready to be the best we can be. Life hasn’t always been easy for me, but CDC is one of those milestones that reminds me just how far I’ve come.”
JMG is a statewide, private nonprofit that partners with public schools and private businesses to offer results-driven solutions to ensure all Maine students graduate, attain post-secondary credentials and pursue meaningful careers. JMG provides more than 7,000 students a year with the skills and experience they will need to reach their potential. JMG graduates become engaged members of their communities, productive adults in the workforce, and contributors to Maine’s economy.