Jobs for Montana’s Graduates (JMG) held its annual Spring conference called IGNITE Montana (a Career Development Conference) in Billings, MT while embracing the theme of INNOVATE and community service. Over 330 students from across Montana gathered to compete in job and employability skills competitions, poster/banner competitions, and a group/individual talent show.
Students also had an opportunity to practice their networking and job seeking skills at the Career Fair/Networking Social which had 14 businesses represented. One of the many highlights for students was the community service projects held around Billings called #jmgserves. Students and teachers volunteered during the conference at locations like the city park, ZooMontana, Billings Food Bank, the Montana Rescue Mission, ReStore, and Wise Wonders Children’s Museum. Workshops on building a virtual portfolio, CPR, and innovative programs offered by the National Center for Appropriate Technology also filled the day to help students build perspective and ideas for the future.
IGNITE Montana ended with a well-deserved celebration at the awards luncheon complete with a plated lunch, with which to practice table manners, and distinguished guests such as the City of Billings Mayor Bill Cole and Montana Lt. Governor Mike Cooney. The keynote speaker was an accomplished JMG senior from Hot Springs High School Mikayla Mueller. Mikayla delivered an impassioned speech that took the audience past her most tumultuous times and up to her transformative moments and absolution. Mikayla’s overall message and journey to the JAG DC student conference left an indelible mark on the audience and staff. As 2018 IGNITE Montana came to a close, the bonds of friendships built, knowledge attained, and professional connections made, will go well beyond any shelf-life or afterthought; instead, it will go on to spread and IGNITE others in Montana and beyond.