Community Foundation Selects Fall Grants

The Delta County Community Foundation logo. It features a blue Upper Peninsula, and on the northern coast is an image of green trees.

Story via the Daily Press at

ESCANABA — The Community Foundation for Delta County announced the foundation’s fall grants round recipients. The following organizations receiving grants were; City of Escanaba Recreation Department-After School Program; City of Escanaba City Band – Band Uniforms; Delta County Animal Shelter-Prison Dog Training Program; Delta Astronomical Society – Planet Walk; Delta County College Access Network – Career Development and Post-High School Planning – DCCAN Programs; Northern Lights YMCA- Annual Campaign; Pinecrest Medical Care Facility – ADA Picnic Table Upgrade; Pregnancy Services of Delta County – Footprints of Love, Footsteps of Hope: Resolve Through Sharing Perinatal Bereavement Resources; Upward Talent Council – LiftUP Delta County; and Welcome Newborns Program – Welcome Newborns Child Abuse Prevention & Safe Sleep Program

Community Foundation Board Chair Robert Van Damme stated, “It is a privilege and honor to be part of an organization that is able to provide grants to a multitude of Delta County organizations that help make our area a better place for all. The community foundation is able to provide funds to these entities only through the wonderful generosity of our donors who care about their community”.

The foundation’s Grants Committee Chair, Will Carne, Sr. said, “It’s very rewarding to know what we do as a community foundation has such a positive impact for our citizens”.

Anyone interested in learning how grants are made possible is asked to stop in the Community Foundation for Delta County at 2420 1st Ave. S., Escanaba, or by calling 906-786-6654.

The next grant round will open on Friday, Feb. 28, and all grant requests and requirements must be received by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 in order to be considered.

JMG Students and Potential Careers in Corrections

Students sit at a table in a classroom setting and watching two Corrections employees - one in business clothes and one in a uniform - gives a presentation.

On October 30, 2019, Michigan Works! staff member Amy from Schoolcraft County coordinated a presentation from Luce and Alger Correctional Facilities with Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) students.

Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates is a program focused on dropout aversion for young individuals.

During this presentation, students were educated about what it’s like to be a Corrections Officer, the compensation that you would receive as a Corrections Officer, and what it takes to become one.

The students, after the presentation, showed excitement and enthusiasm in regards to the possibility of working in prisons once they graduate. They asked constructive questions that led to informative discussions.

Michigan Works! UPward Talent Council strives to provide these types of connections to young people, those early in their careers, and the seasoned worker. Stop into an American Job Center for more information about a new career!

2019 Manufacturing Day Tours in the Western U.P.

High school freshman stand with their backs turned to the camera as a man in a black hat and neon green t shirt explains a process to them in a manufacturing setting.

Press Release via Extreme Tool & Engineering

10/23/2019 – Extreme Tool & Engineering along with Jacquart Fabric Products and Ironwood Plastics hosted the Freshman classes from Ontonagon, Wakefield-Marenisco, Bessemer, Ironwood and Hurley for plant tours.  The tours coincided with the yearly “Manufacturing Day” initiative to show our youth the bright futures that exist in manufacturing.

This year’s event came from a late August quarterly meeting the three companies attend together to address shortfalls in the area’s labor pool.  This Western U.P. Continuous Solutions group, led by Kristin Smith of Northern Initiatives, proposed a Manufacturing Day event to the group.  All three companies jumped at the chance to meet & educate the Freshman classes from area high schools showing them good jobs exist here.  Michigan Works! Training specialist Leslee Hein reached out to Ironwood and Bessemer schools with Extreme reaching out to Ontonagon, W-M & Hurley schools.  Almost instantly all schools committed to the event and were excited for the opportunity.  The purpose of the visit was to showcase the wide array of different manufacturing businesses that exist locally and the multitude of jobs that allow the businesses to function.  Replying to Extreme’s Steve Hamilton’s comment on conquering the thought “no good jobs exist here,” Principal Daniel Niemi of Bessemer replied, “Our greatest export is our kids and we have to change that.”  For 6 hours all three companies provided a show and tell tour of their facilities to nearly 180 kids.  The tours demonstrated the products that are made and the skills the workers require to perform their jobs.  The event was centered around exposing the kids to the many different local jobs and educating them on what they need to be considered for the positions.  Extreme’s Chuck Hampston said “whether you want to move away right after high school to gain different life experience, we hope when you think about moving back you think of us and the employment potential we have here in Wakefield.” 

Additional help planning and supporting the event was Nannette Bell of NLighten Consulting, Savannah Dougherty & Leslee Hein of Michigan Works!, Kendal Kettle of Michigan Talent Investment Agency and Kristin Smith of Northern Initiatives.   

Ironwood Plastics enjoyed the opportunity to showcase their different product and the people it takes to make that product.  “It was a great opportunity to expose our young people to the careers in manufacturing that exist right here.  Careers that may or may not require a college degree” was what organizer Liz Justinak wanted to convey to the visitors.  Ironwood Plastics Technical Operations Manager Joe Manzanares enjoyed touring the youth “bring them in each year.  The more they visit, the better”.    

Jacquart Fabric Products jumped at the opportunity to participate in manufacturing day. Suzanne Pazdernik, Human Resource Manager, coordinated the event for Jacquarts and said, “We would never have passed up the opportunity to be able to show nearly 180 students the career opportunities right in their backyards. Those kids are the future of Gogebic County and we enjoyed showing them what we do here.”

Manufacturing Day was a great opportunity to expose our young people to the variety of future careers that exist in manufacturing.  They were able to view all the different areas within the facility, view what we manufacture and ask questions.  We hope that this experience will provide them a better idea of what careers are out there locally. – Ironwood Plastics

I believe MFG day went great! It was exciting to see so many students engaged during the tours. I’m excited about doing it again next year. It’s important to show our students what careers are available to them right here in Gogebic County, I’m grateful to the schools for allowing the freshman classes to participate in this. Hopefully next year it will be even bigger with some more businesses. – Jacquart Fabric Products (Home of Stormy Kromer)

Michigan Conservation Officer Recruitment

A job advertisement for the Michigan Department of Natural Resource. It is a combination of two pictures and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources logo. It features a lake and trees in the top picture, and a forest with a mossy floor in the other.

Do you enjoy working in the outdoors? Are you interested in helping people and protecting natural resources?

Michigan’s Conservation Officers (CO) are among the most highly-trained law enforcement officers in the country.

They are fully-commissioned peace officers who protect the State’s natural and cultural resources, help the public to safely and responsibly enjoy the outdoors, and often serve as first responders in the communities where they live and work.

If you’re interested in joining their ranks, apply now for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ next CO academy, starting in July 2020.

To apply, please go to

Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates Tours NMU

NMU Electrical Lineman student helps a JMG student put on a climbing harness on the ground.

NMU Electrical Lineman Open House

UPward staff member Meagan brought Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates students to the Northern Michigan University Electrical Lineman Open House on October 17th as part of #CareersInEnergyWeek.

JMG students toured the classrooms used to educate future Linemen, met instructors, observed various exercises and activities, climbed electrical poles, and went sky-high in the bucket truck.   

Two of the UPward Talent Council’s current JMG students and one past student are in NMU’s Electrical Lineman program this year and were helping to facilitate the event for other JMG students.

Freshman Manufacturing Day at Lake Superior State University

A student sits in front of a welding simulator with a welder in hand and a man in a red polo is standing next to him instructing him on how to weld.

On October 18, 2019, Freshman Manufacturing Day took place at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. Students attending this event from around the Eastern Upper Peninsula learned about skilled trades, manufacturing, communication, and teamwork.

Activities included a welding simulator, a competition to see who would build the biggest tower out of uncooked spaghetti and marshmallows, the telephone game, a dancing robot, and multiple safety and informational presentations.

Regional employers, including manufacturers, energy co-ops, and more were in attendance, giving students a unique view of the many opportunities available to them after they graduate.

This informative event was facilitated by the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District in cooperation with community partners in workforce and economic development.

Career Readiness at Sault Area High School

Leslie and Jason standing in front of a classroom with three students watching them present.

On October 17, Leslie and Jason from Michigan Works! attended multiple sessions of the Career Readiness class at Sault Area High School in Sault Ste. Marie, MI.

Leslie and Jason talked about their jobs and Michigan Works! programs and services, the Pathfinder program, resume best practices, and interview skills.

Educating the future of our workforce is an important role Michigan Works! fills. To have a Michigan Works! employee speak at your institution, please contact your nearest Michigan Works! office.

JMG Students Get a Visitor

Sgt. Giannunzio stands in front of two kids who have their hands resting behind their heads as he speaks to a classroom of students.

This week, Michigan Works! staff member Amy helped to facilitate a special guest speaker for Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates students at Jack Reque High School in Manistique, MI.

Michigan State Police Officer Sgt. Giannunzio visited the Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates students, discussed his job with them, and answered questions.

Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates is a program that helps at-risk students by providing dropout prevention activities and education.

LSSU Fall Career Fair

Beckie and Holly standing behind a table at the LSSU Career Fair with marketing merchandise on their table.

On Friday, October 11, 2019, Beckie and Holly from the Chippewa American Job Center in Sault Ste. Marie, MI attended the Lake Superior State University Fall Career Fair in the Cisler Center on LSSU’s campus.

At this event, Beckie and Holly were able to discuss programs and services with LSSU students. One such program would provide financial assistance with tuition, books, class fees, and more.

Additionally, Beckie and Holly were able to discuss upcoming internships and temporary employment opportunities with visitors to their table.

For more information about Michigan Works! programs, services, and opportunities, please contact your nearest Michigan Works! American Job Center.