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A Letter from Leadership
"All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them."

This quote from Walt Disney captures the essence of our organization. The youth we serve have big dreams, and often, big barriers on their journey to education and employment. That is until they meet a caring adult who provides guidance and helps that young person build their path to pursue and achieve their dreams. That path is Youth Solutions.

As a humble organization filled with service-oriented employees, we are immensely proud of our accomplishments, although we may not always talk about it. As we celebrate the 15th anniversary of Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) programming, we are honored to share the achievements we made. There is no better way to share our positive impact than through the stories of those who have had the courage to dream bigger, forge relationships, build a plan, do the work and create opportunities for themselves and those around them. Within the pages of this report, you’ll see just that: stories of connections, inspiration, and achievements.

For 15 years, we have been dedicated to positively impacting the lives of young people across the state of Michigan, and last year we impacted more than 6,600 youth across the state of Michigan, the most ever in a single year, connecting with them in a way that they are inspired about their future.

Achievements like this inspire us to continue our work, making a positive impact in the lives of even more youth over the next 15 years. We promise to continue innovating, connecting, inspiring, and building relationships that help our young people surpass their dreams. As you read the stories of achievement within the pages of this report, we ask for your continued support, through donations, sharing our stories on social media, and learning more about what we do.

Together, we can make an even greater impact.

Mollie Waller


Executive Director

Vicky Kruslemsky-Youth Solutions Board Chair


Board Chair


Inspiring and connecting youth to achieve a future beyond imagination.


Equip young people with the skills to overcome barriers and succeed in education, employment, and in life.


We envision a Michigan where every young person is educated, employed, and career-bound.






Exceeding Expectations: Achieving a Breakthrough Year

Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG), our premier program, is changing the lives of Michigan's youth, ensuring they stay in school or return to education. Through its comprehensive approach, JMG creates equitable access to education and employment, providing the knowledge and skills needed to identify a high-wage, in-demand career, all while helping young people overcome individual barriers and ensuring success.

Our dedicated JMG specialists, (staff delivering the services), who blend the roles of a social worker, teacher, and career counselor, go beyond academics to provide a sense of purpose and belonging. JMG is committed to empowering young people to achieve both economic and academic success.

JAG-White Logo

Empowering Growth & Excellence

Our commitment to delivering high-quality youth programming across the state of Michigan led to the development of JMG Quality Standards, built off of the Jobs for Americas Graduates (JAG) model.


In collaboration with our Affiliate Partners, we not only developed the JMG Quality Standards, but also a comprehensive measurement tool for goal-setting and growth, the JMG Continuous Improvement Rubric. This tool plays a crucial role in our efforts, as it helps us clearly communicate expectations and provides a structured framework for setting and achieving goals.

Record Number
of Youth Served
Out-of-School Time
Further Education Rate 

"The support of my JMG specialist, Lisa Baldyga, helped me continue my education and career. JMG is breaking the cycle and allowing first-generation students to achieve something I never believed was possible."

Taryn, Northwest Education Services Career Tech Center
Achieve Result

Instilling a Career Culture within Schools

YS Select

Youth Solutions Select (YS Select) is a service specifically designed to make system-level changes, helping schools engage and retain students while preparing them for their future beyond high school. To achieve this, career development is integrated into all aspects of education, allowing students to understand how their education connects to their future careers. As students see how their learning can directly benefit them in their future occupations, they become increasingly more engaged.


"YS Select has streamlined our districts' ability to assess our collective school and community initiatives around career exploration. Partnering with Youth Solutions offers intentional and strategic direction, fostering stronger school and community connections. This, in turn, provides students more opportunities to explore careers and navigate towards a brighter future."

Alyssa Merten, Oceana College Access Network
Alyssa Merten- YS Select



Annual events create a space where youth can immerse themselves into diverse experiences and discover opportunities that ignite their passions. These events go beyond career guidance and skill-building; they empower youth, fostering personal and professional growth while connecting them with opportunities that help shape their future.

Scroll through to learn more about our Annual Events

Celebrating Commitment and Continued Growth

Hartford High School JMG Launch Celebration 2023

The Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) Launch Celebration, formerly the I&I Ceremony, is a powerful and transformative youth-led ceremony where participants declare their commitment to the JMG program. This showcases and celebrates their dedication to achieving their education and employment goals.

Carley- Legislative Day

"Legislative Day was an empowering and meaningful experience. It made me feel like I had the potential to leave a positive impact on the community."

August, Lansing School District
Achieve Purpose



The Grow Detroit Young Talent (GDYT) program placed 57 JMG youth from Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC) in summer employment and training. GDYT allows youth to explore diverse career options, providing them with a 6-week training program in fields such as construction, engineering, technology, and law enforcement. Partnering with esteemed employers like DTE Energy and the Detroit Police Safety Department, GDYT offers valuable opportunities for hands-on learning and skill development.


GROWTH Shapes the Future of Corewell Health

In its fourth year, the GROWTH internship program from Corewell Health offers students who are 16-19 years old an opportunity to participate in a seven-week program that includes a combination of guided, real-world experience and work training at the hospital. Students who participate, like Anijah, JMG youth from Benton Harbor High School, get paid work experiences that will help them formulate a career plan before they graduate from high school. They learn a diverse set of skills that prepare them for a career in healthcare; a growing field that has an abundance of jobs available.


"JMG didn’t stop the day I graduated, in fact, new opportunities began to open for me. I am now a part of the Alumni Network and the Youth Advisory Council. Through these opportunities, I have volunteered at events, participated in Coffee with a Purpose, and traveled to Washington, D.C. for the Jobs for America’s Graduates National Student Leadership Academy."

Mani Mesh
JMG Benton Harbor Youth

Giving Youth Opportunities to Career Pathways

At Marquette Alger Technical Middle College (MATMC), students opt into a 5-year high school plan of study, with the fifth year being full-time college enrollment. During grades 11-13, each MATMC student is supported through the JMG program where the curriculum is based on the JMG power competencies. The curriculum focuses on college, career, and life readiness, offering work-based learning, internships, and employer events. Youth choose from three high-demand areas: health sciences, professional trades, or cybersecurity. After graduation, students receive support as they enter the workforce or continue with their college enrollment.


The Youth Solutions Alumni Network is an essential support system for our program graduates, providing a connected community and access to education and employment opportunities post-graduation. It ensures ongoing support, empowerment, and growth with others who truly understand their journey.


The National Student Leadership Academy (NSLA), hosted by Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), is a capstone leadership experience for a select number of YAC members providing unique experiences through experiential learning, real-world applicability, and networking. 265 JAG specialists, youth, and state leaders from across the nation participated and Michigan was well represented with eight Jobs for Michigan’s (JMG) youth. The NSLA was a great opportunity for youth to step out of their comfort zones and network with other youth from all over the country.


The Youth Advisor Council (YAC) is a group of young leaders who are proud supporters of the JMG program. This year, YAC members started an annual scholarship as a way to show gratitude to the program that significantly impacted their lives. Throughout the year, YAC members advocated and successfully raised $500, which was awarded as the inaugural YAC Scholarship. Jada Willis, a JMG Workforce Pathways Youth from Benton Harbor, was awarded this scholarship in recognition of her accomplishments.

Achieve Opportunities
Lisa Baldyga Headshot

"Once a student has the NSLA experience, they want to talk about it! Students bring home skills and experiences and share them with their peers. That, along with the bond and trusting relationship we build, inspires them to want to become part of something even bigger!"




Creating Opportunities Beyond Tourism

One student, Dakota from Cadillac Innovation High School, wasn’t sure about her post-graduation path. Through the JMG program, she was able to visit a college and explore a variety of career options. Working together with her JMG Specialist, Dakota was able to consider all of the possibilities that aligned with her interests. She ultimately made a well-informed decision to build a career in the construction field.

"We’re doing what’s best for our youth participants, supporting them along the way, but the local community also benefits from a more skilled, workforce-ready base of students."

Susan Ward
Susan Ward, Networks Northwest
School Districts in Charlevoix and Emmet counties are participating
Networks Northwest Logo

The area served by Networks Northwest spans a 10 county region that includes Petoskey, Manistee, Cadillac and Traverse City. Recently, they expanded JMG programs into all the school districts in Charlevoix and Emmet counties supported by a local millage. "The area is well known for its tourism. What may not stand out is the fact that there is quite a bit of rural and generational poverty," said Susan Ward, Youth Services Regional Director, who oversees the JMG program at Networks Northwest.

JMG has made an impact in two important ways:

  1. By introducing the program specialist and having that trusted adult in a youth’s life. If a youth can have a trustworthy, reliable adult in their life, they are more resilient.

  2. Career exploration and awareness. Experiencing different types of industries and work options helps youth see a future beyond imagination.

Achieve Growth

Closing Equity Gaps: Paving the Path to Equal Opportunities

Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity (LEO)

Closing equity gaps is one of the guiding focuses for LEO. “Seeing the youth who participate in these programs, benefitting from the work experiences they’ve gained, and knowing our resources have contributed to the future success of these dedicated young people, is a critical component of the work being done by LEO", said Chelsea Mates, Workforce Innovation Team Manager at LEO.

The highly engaged team at LEO has been supportive of Youth Solutions and our programming, partnering and providing volunteers for our events since 2014. Our two organizations have a complementary focus on providing economic prosperity for all throughout the state of Michigan.

Chelsea Mates
Chelsea Mates,
Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity

Lyons Industries

Lance Lyons, President of Lyons Industries, has been a proud supporter of Youth Solutions (YS) for several years. He has displayed his confidence in the program through inviting YS staff and Jobs for Michigan's Graduates youth to tour his facility, taking time to educate them on career opportunities, and financially sponsoring our youth focused events.

Lyons Industries Check Presentation

"Our family has always had a passion for developing our region’s youth because they are the future of our workforce and communities. By supporting Youth Solutions, we’re directly supporting youth on their journey to obtaining the education and employment they need to be successful."

Lance Lyons, President of Lyons Industries
Youth Solutions leverages approximately $3M in support of program delivery.

Thank you

to our event sponsors, grantors and board members for giving generously of their time, talents and treasures.


  • DCI Marketing

  • Lyons Industries

  • Michigan College Access Network (MCAN)

  • Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association

  • Southeast Michigan Construction Academy

  • Corewell (Spectrum) Health

  • Henry Ford Health


  • Consumers Energy Foundation

  • DTE Foundation

  • Jobs for America's Graduates

  • Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity

  • Strada Education Foundation

  • United Way of the Lakeshore

  • United Way of Southwest Michigan


  • Vicky Kruslemsky, Board Chair

  • Kevin Stotts, Vice Chair, Finance Committee Chair

  • Dr. Sarah Elmouchi, Secretary

  • Barbara Anderson

  • Orrin Bailey

  • Brian Balasia

  • Todd Gustafson

  • Vail Harding

  • Joya Harris

  • John Kaczynski

  • Shani Penn

  • Jeff Swears, Impact Committee Chair

  • Tarence Wheeler

  • Sam Singh

  • Roger Curtis, Advancement Committee Chair

  • George Saleeby

Shani Penn


Youth Solutions Board Member


Program Partners

  • Benton Harbor High School (Youth Solutions)

  • Boys & Girls Club of Greater SW MI

  • Bridge Academy of SW MI

  • Bridge Alternative High School

  • Capital Area Michigan Works!

  • Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation

  • Eau Claire High School

  • Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works!

  • GST Michigan Works!

  • Hartford High School (Youth Solutions)

  • Institute for Excellence in Education (IEE)

  • Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency

  • Kent ISD

  • Livingston Educational Service Agency

  • Marquette-Alger Technical Middle College

  • Michigan Works! BCVB

  • Michigan Works! Macomb/St. Clair

  • Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium

  • Michigan Works! Region 7B

  • Michigan Works! Southeast

  • Michigan Works! Southwest

  • Michigan Works! West Central

  • Muskegon Public Schools

  • Networks Northwest

  • Northview Next Career Center

  • Oakland County Michigan Works!

  • Peckham, Inc.

  • Pinckney High School

  • SEMCA Michigan Works!

  • Upper Peninsula Michigan Works!

  • West Michigan Works!

  • West Shore ESD

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