ROME, Maine – Students from across Maine are learning how to work on solving social, cultural and environmental issues in their communities through the Jobs for Maine’s Graduates leadership education conference.
“They work on skills from communication to what it means to be a leader, what it means actually to understand that role, whether they are leading or following, or helping to design a certain model they’re working on,” said Lindsay Withee, JMG regional manager.
The JMG skills are designed to prepare students for life.
Nokomis High School senior Ciera Hamilton, who is president of her school’s JMG club, said she was not prepared to graduate until she enrolled in the program.
“I was scared to go to college after my freshman year when everyone was like, ‘You need to pick what you want for college,’” Hamilton said. “And now, I’m ready to go and show what I’ve learned from JMG.”
Interpersonal skills and workplace readiness are needs in today’s society, especially when graduating students are more comfortable using digital devices to communicate.
“It’s actually a lot more hands-on stuff and a lot more learning that would benefit me more later on in the future,” said Noah Tisdale, Gardner High School senior.
“They are really working on those workforce development skills that they need moving forward – working together as a team, and understanding the different roles it is going to take,” Withee said.
The middle and high school students are put through four activities — creating a business plan that creates change, networking, a team-building scavenger hunt, and designing a cardboard watercraft to carry weight.
“They’re very impressive,” Withee said. “You know, when they come in they are a little shy and by the time they leave … they’ve come out of their shell.”