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Celebrating Our Outstanding Specialists and Program Accomplishments

An important part of Summer Summit, is the awards ceremony where we celebrate outstanding specialists and program accomplishments from around the state. Youth Solutions Board Chair, Barb Anderson, was joined by the staff to announce the award winners and provide the recognition they deserve.

JAG “5 of 5” Award Winners

The Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), our national affiliate, ‘5-of-5’ Award is the most prestigious programming award given to JAG affiliate programs to include state, regional, and program level recognition. Recipients of the JAG ‘5-of-5’ award have met or surpassed all of JAG’s five rigorous performance metrics dedicated to ensuring young people succeed in education and employment.

Regional ‘5 of 5’ Winners - all programs in the following regions met '5 of 5' criteria:

  • GST Michigan Works!, Out of School Program

  • Southeast Michigan Community Alliance, Out of School & Alternative Education

  • West Michigan Works!, Out-of-School Program

  • Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation, Multi-Year Program

  • Youth Solutions, Multi-Year Programs

  • Marquette-Alger Technical Middle College, Alternative Program

  • Networks Northwest, Alternative and Middle School Programs

Program ‘5 of 5’ Specialist winners:

Alternative Programs:

  • Amanda Althouse, Southeast Michigan Community Alliance

  • Haley Rhoades, Marquette-Alger Technical Middle College

  • Kim Benz, Networks Northwest

  • Tracy Beckley, Networks Northwest who achieved this for 2 Alternative Ed programs

  • Lisa Baldyga, Networks Northwest

  • LeAnne Bush, Networks Northwest

Multi-Year Programs:

  • Lachelle Williams, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation

  • Carolyn Miller, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation

  • Dashawn Perry, Eau Claire

  • Tyler Burbach, Eau Claire

  • India Potts, GST Michigan Works!

  • Candace Pendergraft, Southeast Michigan Community Alliance

  • Corey Sterling, Youth Solutions

  • VicShonda Newbern, Youth Solutions

  • Tiffany Grzybowski, Youth Solutions

  • Jocelynne Braddock, Youth Solutions

Out of School Programs:

  • Ashley Fanson, GST Michigan Works!

  • Domonique Clay, GST Michigan Works!

  • Rosie Toedosio, GST Michigan Works!

  • Michael Cain, Michigan Works! Southeast

  • Jessie Trumble, Northeast Consortium

  • Pranvera Myftiu, SEMCA

  • Matt Laird, Upper Peninsula Michigan Works!

  • Trena Williams-Winston, West Michigan Works!

  • Heather Bates, West Michigan Works!

Middle School Program:

  • Cheryl Miller, Networks Northwest

JAG High Performers ‘5 of 5’ PLUS

Annually, JAG recognizes a group of specialists and managers who are high performers in all aspects of JAG Model programming. This year’s award winners were selected because of their dedication to exceptional JAG programming and consistency in delivering on our mission: to equip youth with the skills to overcome barriers and succeed in education, employment, and life. This year’s High Performer Award winners were recognized at the recent JAG National Training Seminar.

  • Lester Gayden, JMG Manager at Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation

  • Jocelynne Braddock, Multi-Year and Alternative Education Specialist, Youth Solutions

  • Meagan Staton, JMG Manager at Marquette-Alger Technical Middle College

Peak Performance Award

This year, JAG has presented a new award to one specialist per state. The peak performance award was given to Dominque Clay, JMG Specialist from GST Michigan Works!, in recognition of the average contact hours for her work with Out of School Youth.

JAG Outstanding Specialist Awards

Each year, JAG National invites state affiliates to nominate up to three Outstanding Specialist award winners. These award winners are all-around excellent, consistently delivering on the mission and offering best-in-class programs. Yearly, specialists from across the state are nominated by their managers and peers, and three awardees are selected. Congratulations to our three JAG Outstanding Specialists:

  • LaChelle Williams, Multi-Year Specialist from DESC

  • Corey Sterling, Youth Solutions Multi-Year Specialist.

  • Kristyn Nicholson, Michigan Works! Southeast Out of School Specialist

Outstanding Manager of the Year

The Outstanding Manager of the Year award was brought to us from the team at Networks Northwest last year. They felt such pride and admiration for their Manager, they asked that this be added as an award.

This year, the Outstanding Manager of the Year award was given to a manager who goes above and beyond to help their team with whatever their needs are. She takes the time to get to know all of her specialists by spending quality time with each of them throughout the week and is someone who wants to make sure that her team feels appreciated at work. “She has been an invaluable guide and leader. She deserves recognition for her hard work and dedication to JMG,” says one of her Specialists. Our Outstanding Manager of the Year was awarded to:

  • Karrie Messenger, Manager of Michigan Works! Southwest, KRESA JMG Programs

Rising Star Awards

A new award this year, the Rising Star Award, was created to recognize first year Specialists. The Rising Star is awarded to those who have performed at an exceptional level, taking initiative, rising to the challenge of being a new Specialist and excelling in their role. The idea for this award came from one of the Youth Solutions team members, Cedric Brooks. This year’s Rising Star’s were:

  • Vic’Shonda Newbern - Youth Solutions, Out of School Specialist and 5 of 5

  • Chauncey Williams - Muskegon Public Schools, Alternative Specialist

  • Candace Pendergraft - Southeast Michigan Community Alliance, Multi Year Specialist and 5 of 5

  • Tom Goforth - GST Michigan Works!, Multi Year Specialist

  • Haley Rhoades - MATMC, Alternative Education Specialist and 5 of 5

Living Our Values Awards Each year we recognize members of our JMG network who embody each of our organizational values in their everyday lives: collaboration, leadership, excellence, and remaining solutions-focused. We give awards to individuals for each one of these values in separate categories. Below are the award winners for each category. Collaboration We were pleased to recognize three members of our JMG network for their outstanding collaborative efforts:

  • Kim Benz- Out of School Specialist at Networks Northwest

  • Ashley Fanson - Out of School Specialist at GST Michigan Works!

  • Billy Coleman - Out of School Specialist at the Bridge Academy of Southwest Michigan


We were pleased to recognize the following three leaders for their amazing leadership skills:

  • Jessie Trumble, JMG Manager at Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium

  • Carolyn Miller, Multi-Year Specialist at Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation

  • Suzanne Reid, JMG Manager at SEMCA


Congratulations to our excellence winners who are always striving for more:

  • Cortney Sanders, Out of School Specialist, UP Michigan Works!

  • Billy Bosquez, Out of School Specialist, Institute for Excellence in Education

  • Lyndsay Wagner, Out of School Specialist at SEMCA - Monroe ISD


To those always finding a way to work it out, congratulations to our solutions focused winners:

  • Amanda Althouse, Alternative Specialist at SEMCA

  • Eric Brown, Multi-Year Specialist at SEMCA

  • Adriana Baker, Out of School Specialist at SEMCA/Downtown Community Conference


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