Economic Development and Human Resources

Career fair draws 10,000 students downtown

April 26, 2019
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MiCareerQuest 2015
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Employers recently provided a look at future career paths for roughly 10,000 students at an event downtown.

MiCareerQuest 2019, hosted by West Michigan Works! for the fifth year, took place on Wednesday at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.

Students from 85 middle and high schools throughout Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon and Ottawa counties attended the event, participating in interactive exhibits and conversations with 95 area employers.

“We are fortunate to have a dedicated group of staff, employers, community colleges and school districts in West Michigan who have worked tirelessly to create this year’s event,” said Jacob Maas, CEO, West Michigan Works!.

“Together with hundreds of volunteers, they have created a fun and engaging environment for students to learn about the amazing career opportunities in their own backyard. We’re thankful to our event partners and sponsors for their incredible commitment. They have been instrumental in making students aware of all the possibilities that exist for careers in West Michigan’s high-demand industries.”

More than 800 volunteers helped at MiCareerQuest.

According to a 2015 Skills Gap report, 37.5 million baby boomers will retire in the next decade, and 21 million emerging workers will enter the workforce to replace them.

About 99% of attending employers in 2018 said MiCareerQuest met their expectations, while 100% of educators said MiCareerQuest was a valuable career education activity for students.

“I love seeing so many people from so many different — and sometimes competing — career paths and industries, all working together to put on an amazing experience for students," said Eric Kelliher, career readiness consultant, Kent Intermediate School District. "Students walk away thinking and reflecting on a ton of different job opportunities available to them. For many of them, it’s their first real step towards true career exploration.”

Interactive exhibits included surgical services, where students used the da Vinci system to perform robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgery, and advanced manufacturing, where students experienced virtual and augmented reality through a virtual headset.

“I am excited for this opportunity to engage with today’s youth and share our passion in the arena of technology and automation — to ignite that spark in the imagination of so many of the students that participate in MiCareerQuest and offer the opportunity for them to begin their journey toward the ever-changing world of manufacturing,” said Michael Stephens, channel account manager, Rockwell Automation.

“This is an amazing opportunity to have the attention of almost 10,000 students who are eagerly looking for career paths and make an impact on their choices.”

MiCareerQuest was created in 2015 by West Michigan Works!, Kent Intermediate School District and the Construction on Workforce Development Alliance.

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