Summer Summit - Specialists Immersed in Youth-Centered, Demand-Informed Philosophy

What True Youth Engagement Looks Like


In a Summer Summit workshop facilitated by Janie McNabb and Sara Wycoff McCauley of Strategic Policy Consultants, Specialists were immersed in the Youth-Centered, Demand-Informed philosophy, which is our overarching approach to working with youth and employers. This philosophy begins by getting to know the youth’s interests and takes that one step further by connecting these young people to well paying jobs that match their desires.


“This approach isn’t new. These Specialists have always known that it is personal and the relationships (with youth and employers) require maintenance,” said McNabb. The workshop formalized the instinctual approach that we take to building strong relationships.


What works best is a scenario where both parties - the youth and the employer - are engaged and involved. One JMG Specialist shared a story about a new front desk employee who wanted to work but they were quiet, shy and a bit withdrawn. The employer showed a real desire to help this employee succeed. “When we wrap our arms around these young people, we set them on a path to a successful and rewarding future,” said Wycoff McCauley. Many of the successful outcomes are dependent upon the attitude of the employer. During the workshop, participants discussed their own experiences and shared details of good and bad examples of employer engagement.


Ultimately, the key takeaway from this session was to reinforce that our Specialists play an important role. Specialists know what quality interactions and engagement looks like but they don’t have to do it all alone. With support from the Youth Solutions team and local Michigan Works! business services teams, Specialists have never been better positioned to provide youth with high quality employer engagement opportunities.


Are you an employer who would like an opportunity to meaningfully engage youth who are interested in understanding different industries and career options? We’d like to have a conversation. Contact Youth Solutions today.