On April 25, more than 9,500 students from 85 middle and high schools throughout Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon and Ottawa counties learned about future career opportunities at MiCareerQuest 2018. Student attendees participated in interactive exhibits and conversations with 117 area employers.
“Most often career fairs don’t include civil engineering, architecture or meterology, but MiCareerQuest offered a wide range of interesting fields,” one student said.
According to a 2015 Skills Gap report, 37.5 million baby boomers will retire in the next decade and only 21 million emerging workers will enter the workforce to replace them.
“With an aging workforce on the brink of retirement, employers are concerned about their future workforce,” said Jacob Maas, CEO, West Michigan Works! “It is critical to educate youth about a variety of occupations and career pathways now so they are aware of all the possibilities that exist for careers in West Michigan’s high-demand industries.”
The one-day event is mutually appreciated by teachers and employers. 99 percent of 2018 attending educators agreed that MiCareerQuest was a valuable career education activity for students. And 99 percent of employers agreed that MiCareerQuest met their expectations.
“MiCareerQuest is such an important event because it gives us an opportunity to interact with students in a nontraditional way. We need to engage students early and guide them toward occupations that are exciting and growing,” said Kelly Wilczak, certified recruiter, Mercy Health–West Michigan.
Laura Elsner, workforce development manager DeWys Manufacturing agreed that the event is worthwhile for employers,
“The passion that manufacturers have for their craft is obvious during MiCareerQuest. It’s exciting to be a part of that energy. Getting to impress upon the students the passion we have for our companies and careers makes participating in MiCareerQuest a memorable event.”
More than 1,200 volunteers helped at MiCareerQuest, which was sponsored by the Talent Investment Agency (TIA).
“The Talent Investment Agency is proud to serve as the 2018 Event Sponsor of MiCareerQuest,” TIA Director Wanda M. Stokes said. “Career exploration needs to be an integrated approach and a multidisciplinary concept. Extending career exploration beyond the walls of the school and creating opportunities for students to engage with business professionals is so important. MiCareerQuest provides students with these critical opportunities.”