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Meet Our April Specialist of the Month: Summer Tahaney

Meet our April Specialist of the Month, Summer Tahaney, a Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) out-of-school specialist from Oakland County Michigan Works! Waterford.  Summer has been a JMG Specialist for two years and has made a huge impact in the lives of the youth she serves. We asked several questions so you can get to know her better: 

Why did you become a JMG Specialist? 

Our Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates program was being piloted for Oakland and I saw some wonderful opportunities to help bring career readiness and planning to youth in our area, as well as another way to help them address and overcome barriers to employment.

What inspires you about your job? 

Seeing a kid walk across the stage at graduation and feel confident with what comes next. That lets me know we did our job and helped them in even the smallest way.

Recall a favorite memory about being a specialist. (an event, a youth accomplishment, etc.)

We made Valentine's Day cards for senior citizens at a local nursing home and the residents were so excited to receive their valentine's with the knowledge that the students thought of them and took time to wish them well.

What is one of the greatest challenges you face in your job? A stubborn youth that does not accept help, no matter how much they need it.

What is one of the greatest highlights/joys of your job? 

When a youth comes back 6 months later, after they have finished the JMG program, to accept the additional help we offer with an open mind and thankful heart.

Why do you think JMG is so important for youth?

It exposes students to opportunities they may not have had outside of their school schedule. Some of our students have never even been outside of their block, let alone their city, so opportunities to ask them to be a part of community service projects and JMG events is a great experience for them to broaden their personal bubble, as well as expose them to new careers and outlooks.

Share your hobbies, do you have any pets, what do you like to do in your spare time, etc.

I am a mom to a 2-year-old toddler, I love to sing, read, and craft, and I have a dog named Finn and 2 cats named Jack and Lily.

Share a couple random facts to get to know you better. 

I toured Ireland with my choir in college and took first place in a Choral Festival in Navan. I also love opera and musicals of all kinds. My most recent trip to New York included Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Play Where Everything Goes Wrong, and Gutenberg, all were absolutely brilliant!

Fun fact: My guilty pleasure is playing Pokémon on my Nintendo Switch. 

Nominations are open to ALL, including our employer partners! If you know a phenomenal specialist, we encourage you to nominate them as our May Specialist of the month.

Nominate a specialist who deserves to be recognized, here.


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