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Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates Youth Leaders Meet with U.S. Congressman Jack Bergman in Washington D.C.

December 4, 2023

Seven outstanding young leaders from the Jobs for Michigan's Graduates (JMG) program, including four from northwest Lower Michigan, had the unique privilege of meeting with United States Congressman Jack Bergman of Michigan, on December 1 in Washington, D.C. This meeting provided youth with the rare opportunity to use their voice to share their personal stories and discuss issues important to them, at the national level.

JMG is the premier program of Youth Solutions, a nonprofit organization that aims to ensure every youth in Michigan has access to career-focused education so they graduate with an actionable plan for postsecondary success.

Congressman Bergman expressed his excitement about meeting with Michigan’s future leaders, stating, "I was thrilled to meet with youth from the Jobs for Michigan's Graduates program. It's inspiring to see young people learning to become tomorrow’s leaders to ensure a bright future for Michigan." Congressman Bergman continued, "Their passion, dedication, and commitment to making a positive impact are a testament to the strength and potential of our youth."

AbyGale Kowalske, JMG youth from Northwestern Michigan College, remarked, "This experience was incredibly enriching and empowering. It made us feel heard, recognized, and motivated to make a difference in our communities."

JMG youth were in Washington D.C. to attend the National Student Leadership Academy (NSLA) hosted by Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG). The NSLA provided young leaders from across the country with unique experiences with real-world applicability, and to network with fellow youth, adult leaders, employers, and more. Participants engaged in workshops, discussions, and activities designed to enhance their leadership skills and empower them to become change-makers in their communities. Beyond leadership development, NSLA offered youth the opportunity to explore our Nation’s Capital, participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, and sightsee during the Twilight Monument Tour. 

The seven JMG youth were chosen to attend NSLA based on their leadership and dedication to growing and advocating for the JMG program. Those who attended were:

●     AbyGale Kowalske, Northwestern Michigan College

●     Carson Haskin, Northwest Education Services Career Technical Center

●     Gabriella Paryani, Northwestern Michigan College

●     Harmony Bennett, Hartford High School

●     Nevaeh Stone, Benton Harbor High School

●     Nolan Henson, Southwestern Classical Academy

●     Riley Brown, Northwest Education Services Career Technical Center

The NSLA is more than an event; it is a platform for nurturing the leaders of tomorrow, equipping them with the skills and experiences they need to make a difference in their communities. Our youths' shared dedication to advocating for positive change is a testament to the impact of the JMG program. As they bring back their newfound knowledge from attending NSLA and their meeting with Congressman Bergman, they exemplify the bright future of our workforce.

Networks Northwest always proves to be a valued resource for our local government planning efforts. No organization does a better job of convening partners, promoting collaboration, and reporting on the data than does Networks Northwest
- Ty Wessell, Leelanau County Commissioner