Cheryl Miller is empowering youth at a younger age by becoming the first middle school Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) Specialist. Through our partnership with Networks Northwest, Cheryl is delivering the JMG program to 8th graders at Cadillac Area Junior High School. We asked Cheryl 12 questions to get to know her better and learn what inspires her about her job:
Why did you become a JMG Specialist?
After being out of the job force for 24 years, I wasn’t sure I really wanted a full time job, because I loved the flexibility that comes with not having an 8-5pm commitment. When I read the job description I got excited, because of the focus and the mission of the program.
What inspires you about your job?
The youth! I love to see them get excited about the possibilities for their futures through discussions and exploration!
Explain your excitement about expanding into 8th grade. What do you hope to accomplish with younger students?
I am excited, honored and, to be frank, a little nervous, to work in Michigan’s first middle school program with the 8th graders in the Cadillac Junior High School! I hope to get them started with a firm foundation of soft skills like communication, organization, decision making, conflict resolution and growth mindset, to name a few.
Why do you think JMG is so important for youth?
JMG is important for youth because it not only gives them experiences and skills, but it gives them hope.
Recall a favorite memory as a Specialist.
I am so proud of the class I worked with at CASMAN last year; every single one of them graduated! I would have loved to attend the graduation but couldn’t because of COVID.
Also, I was able to be one of the 3 chaperones for the National Leadership Conference in Washington, DC a year ago December. The student I took had never been on a plane before and it was great to be able to experience that with her.
Do you serve youth in an out-of-school or in-school environment? Both
What program/school? I’m an out-of-school Specialist serving youth in Manistee, Missaukee, Wexford, and Benzie counties and also CASMAN Academy an alternative High School in Manistee. I’m an in-school Specialist at Cadillac Junior High School.
What is one of the greatest challenges you face in your job?
Getting ahold of some of those follow-up students!
What is one of the greatest highlights/joys of your job?
There is never a dull moment and no two days are alike!
How long have you been a JMG Specialist?
What advice would you give to a JMG specialist just starting out?
Be patient with yourself and your students. Relationships take time.
Share a couple of random facts so we can get to know you better.
I love to do puzzles. My husband of 32 years and I live in a little cabin on a little lake just south of Cadillac with 2 cats and a dog. We like to see our children as often as they will visit. 3 of them live downstate and one lives in Wyoming.