Waterville – Macey Sherburne and her fellow classmates have been getting ready for the Jobs for Maine’s Graduates’ (JMG) signature event all year.
“Today is really a big deal,” said Sherburne, a senior in the JMG program at Brewer High School. “We’ve been doing mock job interviews, practicing our public speaking, researching colleges. I can’t believe we’re finally here.”
Sherburne and about 600 other high school students from across the state took over Thomas College in Waterville Tuesday, as JMG hosted its 25th annual Career Development Conference. Better known to students as CDC, the conference is a day-long celebration that gives seniors, and a few juniors, the chance to show off the college and career readiness skills they have gained throughout the year.
“JMG works with students from grades six all the way through college; giving them the support they need to succeed in post-secondary education and careers,” said Sherrye Haney, JMG manager in charge of CDC. “Right now only about 31% of high school students in Maine end up earning a college degree. This conference is part of JMG’s College Success Program, which was developed not only to get students ready to enroll in college, but to make sure they have what it takes to stay in school and earn a degree.”
Students spent the day competing against one another in a variety of skills competitions designed to get them ready for life on campus and for careers. The Campus Quest contest had teams of students roaming the quad in search of key locations, such as the Provost’s Office and the library. Students also went head-to-head in a mock college interview contest judged by Thomas College’s Admissions staff.
“We were so happy to have high school students from all over the state on our College’s campus for the day. You could feel the energy, excitement and potential of these students,” said Thomas College President Laurie Lachance. “JMG’s Career Development Conference is successful in giving college preparation and exposure to these students. This event helps to get them in the mindset and gives them the confidence that they, too, can go to college and be successful.”
JMG partners with public schools and private businesses to make sure Maine students are successful on whichever post-secondary path they choose after high school. Macey Sherburne’s path is taking her to Southern Maine Community College in the fall.
Sherburne said, “I’m already planning to go to college, but getting the chance to spend time here on the Thomas College campus was great. I got to talk with students and even the college president. The competitions gave me a chance to really show myself and my classmates that I’m ready…for college and whatever else is in my future.”
JMG partners with public education and private businesses to offer results-driven solutions to ensure all Maine students graduate, attain post-secondary credentials and pursue meaningful careers. JMG serves more than 6,500 students annually through more than 90 programs throughout the state. For 22 consecutive years, it has been recognized by its national affiliate, Jobs for America’s Graduates, as the best school-to-career program in the U.S. for consistently exceeding national standards. To learn more, visit www.jmg.org.