MARQUETTE — Governor Rick Snyder has said that jobs and education are the two driving forces of the Michigan economy, and many people around the state are trying to direct young people just graduating from high school into high-demand careers like industrial and technical fields.

An economic development group is trying to close that gap in the Upper Peninsula. Career Jump Start is a program from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The Lake Superior Community Partnership is serving as the Upper Peninsula liaison to the statewide program.

“We will be networking with community leaders, community colleges, school districts, employers, workforce development boards, trade unions and other organizations,” Lake Superior Community Partnership business development representative Linda O’Brien said.

The program concentrates on educating students about short–term credentials, associate’s degrees and apprenticeships.
Career and technical middle college programs, like one that recently started in Marquette County, play a big role.

“We are in our first cohort (of Middle College students), and those kids are going strong,” O’Brien said. “We’re looking forward to continuing this program for many years to come with the support of Eagle Mine and other organizations throughout the community.”

Career Jump Start also provides information to students about careers requiring bachelor’s degrees, but it doesn’t emphasize them.