Workforce Development Competitions Force Students to Show Their Skills | Schools

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Workforce Development Competitions Force Students to Show Their Skills

Augusta, ME. – The clock is ticking as we head toward a new high school graduation and college commencement season, and everywhere you turn the same question is being posed: Do our graduates have the skills to meet the demands of today’s job market? Hundreds of high school seniors from the Jobs for Maine’s Graduates’ (JMG) program are confident they do, and spent the day Friday at the Augusta Civic Center proving it at JMG’s 21st Career Development Conference (CDC).

Approximately 500 seniors and a few select juniors faced off against one another at this year’s CDC, competing in a variety of college- and career-readiness contests. From Public Speaking to Decision-Making these competitions give these graduation-ready students the chance to show off the skills they’ve learned in JMG.

“It’s hard to believe that graduation is right around the corner,” says Destiny Petit, a senior at Waterville High School. “Getting ready for CDC has given me the chance to see that I really am ready for what comes next in my life. I know how to conduct myself in a job or college interview, how to write a resume, how to take direction from others – but also, how to think, critically, for myself.”

The skills these young people have acquired through JMG ­ critical thinking, problem solving, and leadership are skills that will serve them regardless of what career path they choose. Whether they decide to be teachers or engineers, executives or entrepreneurs, knowing how to think for themselves, how to work in a team, and how to handle a challenging situation, will enable them to stand out in a competitive job market.

The students pre-selected their competitions and spent several weeks leading up to the conference preparing for battle. Brandy Murphy, a senior from Calais High School competed in Marketing and Public Speaking. She says, “Both of these events forced me to use my communications, time management and problem-solving skills. It’s a great test of just how ready I am to use these skills in college and the workplace.”

CDC also offers a great opportunity for students to network with business leaders. Nearly 100 members of Maine’s business community, including several employees from Tambrands Inc., a Procter & Gamble company, Hannaford, and Bank of America, served as volunteer judges and workshop facilitators. The plant manager from Procter & Gamble, Felica Coney, also awarded two JMG students the very first Procter & Gamble scholarships.  

Craig Larrabee, President & CEO of JMG says, “JMG is able to have the success that it has, because of business partners like Procter & Gamble. These people volunteer their time, they provide financial support, they’re helping these young people get into college. Procter & Gamble knows our students make Maine’s workforce stronger, and they know they’re worth the investment.”

JMG is a statewide, private nonprofit working with students who face barriers to education. JMG provides 4,500 students a year with the skills and experience they will need to succeed in high school, post secondary education, and careers.