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Celebrating Our Outstanding Specialists and Program Accomplishments

An important part of Summer Summit, our annual professional development conference, is the awards ceremony where we celebrate outstanding Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) specialists and program accomplishments from around the state. We were excited to announce the award winners and provide the recognition they deserve.

JAG Six Key Performance Metrics Award Winners

The Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) National Award for achieving their six key performance metrics is the most prestigious programming award given to JAG affiliate programs. Recipients of this award have met or surpassed all of JAG’s rigorous performance metrics dedicated to ensuring young people succeed in education and have a path toward family sustaining employment.

We are so excited to announce that we achieved the six key performance metrics in all three program models: Multi-Year, Alternative Education, and Out-of-School! We are only one of two JAG affiliates nationwide to accomplish this. We are so proud of our Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) network and are so thankful for the hard work they do!

Regional Winners - all programs in the following regions met all six of JAG’s key performance metrics criteria:


Program Type


​Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC)


​Lester Gayden

​Bridge Academy of Southwest Michigan


​Julie Earle

​GST Michigan Works!


​Angela Libkie

​GST Michigan Works!


​Angela Libkie

​Marquette-Alger Technical Middle College (MATMC)


​Haley Rhoades

​Networks Northwest

​Alternative Education

​Susan Ward

Networks Northwest


​Susan Ward

Upper Peninsula Michigan Works!


​Darren Widder

​Youth Solutions

​Alternative Education

​Daniel Mathenia

​Youth Solutions


​Daniel Mathenia

​Youth Solutions Direct School Partnerships


​Gretchen Panicucci

Program Specialist winners:

The individual programs who met all six of JAG’s key performance metrics criteria are:

Alternative Programs:

  • Tracy Beckley, Char-Em ISD CTE: East Jordan, Central Lake

  • Tracy Beckley, Char-Em ISD CTE: Pellston, Harbor Springs, Alanson

  • Jocelynne Braddock, Hartford

Multi-Year Programs:

  • Corey Sterling, Benton Harbor High School 102

  • Anita Graham, Cody High School

  • Anita Jones, Eau Claire High School

  • Candy Pendergraft, Ecorse High School

  • Jocelynne Braddock, Hartford High School

  • LaChelle Williams, Osborn High School

  • Carolyn Miller, Pershing High School

  • India Potts, Southwestern Classical Academy

  • Hunter Morrison, Vassar High School (MY)

Out of School Programs:

  • Cheryl Miller, Cadillac High School

  • Kim Benz, Cadillac Innovation High School

  • Sara Keinath, Casman Academy

  • Tracy Beckley, Char-Em ISD CTE: Crooked Tree High School & Work Based Learning

  • Erin O'Rourke, Crawford

  • Cortney Sanders, Delta

  • Sarah Micheau, Dickinson

  • Dominque Clay, GST Michigan Works Service Center 101

  • Debbie Bean, Houghton

  • Michael Cain, Jackson Service Center

  • Susan Jewell, Luce

  • Chris Canchola, Marquette-Alger Technical Middle College

  • AnnaLisa Tapia, Montcalm County

Recognition of JAG High Performers

Annually, JAG recognizes a group of specialists, managers, school administrators, community leaders, or partners who have positively impacted a JAG affiliate. This year, Youth Solutions selected a few key partners who have impacted JMG beyond the program level, and will leave a lasting impact on JMG regionally or statewide. This year’s High Performer Award winners were recognized at the recent JAG National Training Seminar (NTS).

  • Toni Davis - Manager, West Central Michigan Works!

  • Jim Rummer - Director of Career and Technical Education of Char-Em ISD

  • Julie Earle - Manager, The Bridge Academy of Southwest Michigan

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:

Outstanding Manager of the Year

The Outstanding Manager of the Year award is given to one JMG Manager each year who exemplifies the qualities of an exceptional leader. An outstanding JMG Manager not only demonstrates dedication, but also motivates, supports, and inspires their team, helping them through their daily work, and allowing them to do what they do best - inspiring and connecting youth to achieve a future beyond imagination.

“He cares deeply about his people and has built a talented, high-functioning, team of JMG specialists who continue to make a lasting impact on JMG, and the youth we serve,” says Stephanie Nixon, his supervisor. Our Outstanding Manager of the Year was awarded to:

  • Lester Gayden, JMG Manager at Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC)

Rising Star Awards

This award is to recognize first year specialists who have performed at an exceptional level, taking initiative, rising to the challenge of being a new specialist and excelling in their role. Five Rising Stars were recognized this year:

  • SaTanna Warren - Boys & Girls Club of Greater Southwest Michigan, Out-of-School Specialist

  • Vanessa Wolgamont - West Central Michigan Works!, Youth Assistant Manager

  • Anita Jones - Eau Claire High School, Multi-Year Specialist

  • Steven Lopez - Sexton High School, Multi-Year Specialist

  • Leah Alexander - Ingham Academy, Alternative Education Specialist

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.


Recipients of the collaboration value know the importance of connecting to the community and enlisting them to introduce our youth to careers and opportunities available to them. These individuals collaborate to line up guest speakers, talent tours etc. They also are positive role models, fostering collaboration between their youth, encouraging teamwork and aligning toward common goals. We were pleased to recognize three members of our JMG network for their outstanding collaborative efforts:


Leaders inspire others by their actions more than their words. They support not only their youth, but their co-workers. They go above and beyond. They also understand the critical need to get input from a variety of perspectives on any given topic. A range of opinions leads to a better outcome. Finally, leaders coach, mentor, advocate and are trusted role models. We were pleased to recognize the following three leaders for their amazing leadership skills:

  • Dominque Clay, GST Michigan Works!

  • Tracy Beckley, Networks Northwest

  • Julie Moore, West Michigan Works!


This year’s awardees have much in common. They strive to succeed in all they do and achieve more than the goals they set. They use their knowledge, experience and compassion, to ensure our youth have what they need to succeed. They look for ways to be a resource to others to help more young people achieve a future beyond imagination. Congratulations to our excellence winners who are always striving for more:

  • Jocelynne Braddock, Youth Solutions

  • Michael Cain, Michigan Works! Southeast

  • LeAnne Bush, Networks Northwest


These words carry a strong message, our name is in it. We work to find THE solution that will work for THAT young person. We will search for opportunities to remove barriers and persist in addressing challenges and celebrating successes. The ultimate solution is graduation and following a path to a family sustaining career. To those always finding a way to work it out, congratulations to our solutions-focused winners:

  • Charlest Knox Jr., Junior Youth Academy of Flint

  • Ashley Udell, Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium

  • Jeff Lohman, Muskegon High School

JAG Peak Performance Award

This award is selected and recognized by the JAG National Network based on a metric crucial to that year’s national performance outcomes. This year, two metrics were reviewed, and we’re proud to share that the same specialist received both awards.

  • LeAnne Bush, from Networks Northwest, for outstanding performance in both the Aggregate Jobs Rate and Connectivity Rate for Alternative Education!

JMG High Impact Award

The JMG High Impact Award was a new award this year. This year, the award is given to someone who has shown unwavering commitment to expanding access to the JMG program within the Char-Em Intermediate School District (ISD). Through his advocacy efforts, he supported successful JMG expansion and work-based learning, empowering more students with essential skills for their future careers. His exceptional leadership and commitment to student success will leave a lasting impact on the lives of countless individuals within the Char-Em ISD community. Our first ever JMG Impact Award goes:

  • Jim Rummer - Director of Career and Technical Education of Char-Em ISD

We couldn't be prouder of each and every one of our JMG specialists and managers and the incredible things they continue to achieve. To see more highlights from the Summer Summit, follow us on social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Follow our Youth Solutions Twitter and Facebook pages as well!


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