Meet our Specialist of the Month winner for June, Katie Chrismer, an out-of-school specialist, from GST Michigan Works! at the Family Literacy Center. Katie has been a Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) specialist for fifteen months and has made a difference 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?
I wanted a job that allowed me to help people every day. I never had “a plan” growing up of what I wanted to be, and that helps me empathize with my students who are unsure of their career paths. It is truly special that I get to support them through their big life decisions.
What inspires you about your job?
Getting to see the change and growth my students have experienced over the past year - it's amazing!
Recall a favorite memory about being a specialist. (an event, a youth accomplishment, etc.)
It’s really tough to pick just one, but I had the BEST time at Leadership Day last year! I was a camp counselor in college, so I felt right at home doing the teambuilding and challenge activities with my two wonderful students who attended. I can’t wait for the 2023 event!
What is one of the greatest challenges you face in your job?
It’s hard to be sure that I’m meeting the needs of every student, especially in busy seasons when I have multiple students preparing for college and summer work experience. They don’t always tell me when they’re stuck or frustrated with something, and that’s hard, because I am here to help.
What is one of the greatest highlights/joys of your job?
Watching my students do things they didn’t believe they could do, and succeeding at them.
Why do you think JMG is so important for youth?
Today’s youth spend all their time seeing what other people are doing through various media sources. I think this keeps them from believing in their own abilities and stepping out to try things that are strange or new. JMG is a wonderful opportunity for them to build the self-confidence they’re going to need in life. This program offers new experiences with the support of a specialist to guide them, and most importantly, cheer for them.
Share your hobbies, do you have any pets, what do you like to do in your spare time, etc.
Aside from working with youth, horse training is my passion. I picked up a completely wild mustang for a training competition in 2020. She’s become part of the family, and we’ve had lots of adventures together as she learns about domestic life. We will spend our summer weekends at horse shows or out trail riding around the Thumb area. I am the Treasurer for our county 4-H horse committee and I play guitar with a local acoustic music group. Whenever I have spare time, you’ll find me reading a book and wearing fuzzy socks.
A couple random facts to get to know you better.
I am very organized and love to color coordinate things. My office is decorated with cacti, and there’s always a joke written on my white board.
Fun fact: I can be bribed to do just about anything if you have french fries.
Nominations are open to ALL, including our employer partners! If you know a phenomenal specialist, we encourage you to nominate them as our July Specialist of the Month.
Nominate a specialist who deserves to be recognized, here.