Forge Ahead with Life After High School, Say Grads

Being nervous about how your life will unfold after high-school graduation “isn’t something you should be thinking about too much,” said Arshano McKenzie, a Kellogsville High School graduate who is now working toward a career in medicine. “If you have dreams, you should definitely pursue them.”

That was one of several messages from former Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program participants who addressed around 100 high school students during the sixth annual “Are You Ready for Your Future” event.

Breakout sessions at the March 26 event at Kent ISD focused on college and career planning, financial literacy, options other than college and how to handle stress. Career and post-high school information also was available from representatives of organizations including Baker College, Grand Rapids Community College, Life EMS Ambulance, Blue Heron Academy and Michigan Works!

The Kent ISD WIA program helps students from 14 high schools overcome barriers that might prevent them from graduating.

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program is funded through a grant from Michigan Works! to provide support to students who come from families who are struggling financially and meet one of several criteria that indicate they are “at risk” for successfully completing high school. The goal is to provide mentoring and services that lead to graduation, post-secondary training and employment. Key features of Kent ISD’s WIA program are career planning, post-secondary education planning, college visits, mentoring, tutoring and employability skills.

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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio

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