JOBS for AMERICA'S GRADUATES

Thomas College Hosts 24th Annual JMG Career Development Conference

Article by: Taylor Kinzler

More than 500 juniors and seniors traveled to Thomas College to compete in skills based competitions.

The conference is put on by Jobs for Maine’s Graduates, or JMG.

“So it’s team building, it’s teamwork, it’s problem solving, it’s all of those deeper learning skills that businesses across the state of Maine say these are the skills that are lacking in the emerging workforce this is what we need,” said Lisa Gardner, Director of Stewardship for JMG.

The 24th annual career development conference is designed to give students a taste of the college experience while preparing them for the real world.

For students like Michael McRae, it’s an opportunity to step outside his comfort zone.

“I’m actually looking forward to Pitch-It. I’ve been practicing that one a lot,” said McRae. “Not really good at reading in front of people and talking to people and I’m really shy. I’m looking forward to more of a team building experience and working together with people that I don’t know very well and learning more about them.”

The competitions focus on public speaking, and team building exercises.

This is called the rat race.

“Teams of five students have to get across a grid map without using any verbal communication,” said Debbie Bechard, Special Projects Manager for JMG. “So there’s a predetermined pattern that they need to step on and if they step on the wrong square, a bell will ring, indicating that they’ve miss-stepped. And so they do have ten minutes to try and get all five teammates across.”

The challenging exercises are meant to test students’ ability to work together in difficult situations and to achieve a goal much bigger than they realize.

“To see that growth within a three-hour period is pretty amazing,” said Matthew Reynolds, Career Specialist at Thomas College.

This is the first year the event was held at Thomas College.

It was held at the Augusta Civic Center for the past 23 years.

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