Meet Our Specialist of the Year - Lupe Salazar Hamden


Each year, JAG National invites state affiliates to nominate up to three Outstanding Specialist award winners. These award winners are all-around outstanding, consistently delivering on the mission and offering best-in-class programs. Each year, specialists from across the state are nominated by their managers and peers, and three awardees are selected. We are excited to give you the opportunity to learn more about one of our three winners, Lupe Salazar Hamden.


Lupe Salazar Hamden - JMG Specialist for 4 years with Out of School Youth at Michigan Works! Southeast in Lenawee County


Why did you become a JMG Specialist? Working as a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) YOUTH Advisor for Michigan Works! Southeast, JMG was introduced and implemented in our region in 2017. Since then I have had the pleasure to learn and provide additional exciting opportunities for our YOUTH.

What inspires you about your job? JMG gives our youth the sense of "being a part of something" and knowing that they can be heard in a classroom and/or by their Specialist. Their success starts with us and providing them with activities, events and talent tours are incentives to keep our youth engaged!

Recall a favorite memory about being a specialist. So many to list and much to say, but, LOVE when previous youth stay in contact and refer other youth to the "fun" program.

What is one of the greatest challenges you face in your job? The inability to help some youth overcome barriers that are out of our league.

What is one of the greatest highlights/joys of your job? Smiles, laughter, and successes of our youth!

Why do you think JMG is so important for youth? Specialists across the state do an outstanding job introducing our youth to resources and to provide coaching. Through this, relationships are built and youth achieve goals.

Share your hobbies, do you have any pets, what do you like to do in your spare time? My hobbies are prayer, family and dance/music! I played the accordion and violin for over 10 years back in my younger years. I also hold my high school track records in the 100m and 200m.