Meet our Specialist of the Month winner for May, Dominque Clay, an out-of-school specialist, from GST Michigan Works! Dominque has been a Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) specialist for slightly over two and a half years 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 decided to become a JMG specialist so that I could help make a difference. So many young people grow up lost and confused, not knowing how to find their place in the world and they feel unprepared. I was the same way when I was a youth; I had an idea of what I wanted for myself, but I didn’t grow up in a healthy environment and lacked guidance to make my dream a reality. All I aspire to do is to help bring out our youth’s inner light so that they feel capable of living their dreams.
What inspires you about your job?
What helps keep me inspired is hearing and seeing growth in my youth. When they become sure of themselves and realize that they can do anything they put their minds to, it is momentous! Also, when my youth call or text me out of the blue just to see how I’m doing, it makes me feel like I’m doing good work!
Recall a favorite memory about being a specialist. (an event, a youth accomplishment, etc.)
One of my favorite memories is when we went to Leadership Day in October of 2023. My youth was able to overcome his anxiety of being around others, relax some and enjoy a day free from his normal worries.
What is one of the greatest challenges you face in your job?
A great challenge that I know many out-of-school JMG specialists face, as well as myself, is engagement. I believe that some youth find it hard to stay committed to a program when they have been let down in the past. Being able to gain a youth’s trust and show them that we are truly here to help can be difficult.
What is one of the greatest highlights/joys of your job?
One of the greatest joys is seeing my youth accomplish their goals! You can just hear and see the happiness in their eyes and voice, and it makes me feel fortunate that I could support them on their journey.
Why do you think JMG is so important for youth?
I believe that JMG is so important for youth because this program helps them find their voice. There is an old saying “children are meant to be seen and not heard” and I strongly disagree with this statement. Young peoples’ voices are just as important as anyone of older age. Communication is one of the greatest and most used skills, if they can’t voice their opinions and choices on simple matters how can we expect them to be successful in a world full of major decisions?
Share your hobbies, do you have any pets, what do you like to do in your spare time, etc:
My hobbies are crafting; I enjoy painting and knitting. My main passion outside of helping others is baking and I try to bake whenever I can in my free time. I have several fur babies, 5 cats if you want an exact number, lol.
A couple random facts to get to know you better:
My favorite season is Fall. I don’t like the beach, but I like collecting seashells. I’m a nerd, I love Anime and video games. I also enjoy learning new things. I was born in Jacksonville, FL. I also enjoy cooking and would love to travel all over the world.
Fun Fact: I lived in Sicily, Italy for 3 ½ years and got free pizza anytime I wanted.
Nominations are open to ALL, including our employer partners! If you know a phenomenal specialist, we encourage you to nominate them as our June Specialist of the Month.
Nominate a specialist who deserves to be recognized, here.