"Don’t let anyone ever tell you, you can’t do it.” This powerful message to Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) youth, from Al Pscholka, Vice President of Public Relations & Government Affairs for Kinexus Group and former three-term member of the Michigan House of Representatives, kicked off Legislative Days 2022, March 8 & 9, in Lansing. This annual event is one of two capstone events for JMG youth where they demonstrate the communication, professionalism, and employability skills learned throughout the year. During the event, youth visited the Capitol building, had the opportunity to talk with State Representatives and Senators, and connected with other youth from across the state who are in the JMG program. Legislative Days offered inspiration and motivation for our JMG youth and staff as Senator Stephanie Chang D-District 1 and Representative Beth Griffin R-District 66 each participated in a Q&A, telling their stories and discussing the important topics affecting youth and the state of Michigan. Both Senator Chang and Representative Griffin spoke about the importance of the JMG program to help youth with career exploration and employability skills. There is a labor shortage throughout the state, and youth are the answer to that shortage.
Senator Chang encouraged youth to get involved in their community and explained that legislators come from all walks of life. “People should do what they care about, what they are passionate about. If one day running for office is something you want to do, take the lead. Go for it!” Growing up with immigrant parents, Senator Chang’s road to the capital captivated the JMG audience.
Representative Beth Griffin had a similar message. She explained to the youth that she loves talking to students and letting them know, “if you don’t have all the answers, it’s all right! I’m still trying to decide what I want to do when I grow up.” She told her story of changing her college major and exploring different interests before becoming a teacher and then going into politics. It was a powerful glimpse into the lives and stories of politicians that helped youth realize they aren’t that different and have even overcome similar barriers.