If you were to plot your journey through school and career, what would it look like? Is it a straight line? Or does it look more like a tangle of holiday lights – a few knots, some burned out bulbs and then flashes of brilliance?
At the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology, we are creating a space where teens and adults don’t have to be linear pathtakers they can become intentional pathmakers, embracing the knots and curves of their journey to economic security. And with your support, WMCAT provides innovative programming and mentoring for students at key points along those paths. Please make a gift today to continue this work.
Just spend a few minutes talking with Erion Adams and you’ll learn how WMCAT is intentional about supporting transitions – from middle school to high school to post-secondary to career.
Erion came to WMCAT as a shy 9th grader interested in video production. “I think coming into WMCAT helped my social skills a lot. I was very shy coming into WMCAT. Exploring that creative side of myself was really nice.”
In WMCAT’s Teen Arts + Tech Program, Erion became a documentary filmmaker, an ArtPrize contributor and a professional videographer working with clients. WMCAT was there.
After graduation, Erion attended a large university for a year, loving the experience but questioning the high cost in relation to uncertainty around her future goals. She came back to WMCAT for Step Year, our curriculum-based program for young adults that aligns self-discovery with career exploration. “I found out that I wanted to go into tech again. I say ‘again’ because I did it for one year in middle school, so I’m returning to tech.” WMCAT was there.
That next step in her journey – WMCAT was there again. Erion enrolled in a new Adult Career Training course we offered in computer programming. This earn-and-learn partnership with Spectrum Health and national training provider Xpanxion gave Erion income stability now, with a path to income security for the future. Upon completion, she was offered a job as a developer intern with locally based tech firm CARNEVALE.
“Throughout my time at WMCAT I figured out that I do have a professional skill and a social skill. Before it was very hard to tell that it was there even though I did want to speak and say things, but I was just scared and shy. WMCAT has really helped break that barrier down of mine and I think that really helped me get the job that I have now and I think that it will help me get a lot of jobs in the future.”
WMCAT was there throughout Erion’s journey, giving her the space to be an intentional pathmaker. “WMCAT has great resources, like networking opportunities, equipment for projects that I’ve worked on, and the staff are really helpful, especially when I was going through my career exploration path, they helped me and guided me a lot.”
Please make a gift today so that you and WMCAT can be there for the teen artist seeing the world through a camera, for the young adult learning about themselves as they explore college and career options, and for the adult pursuing long-term economic security through a new career. Together we can be there for all of the teens and adults who are ready to be pathmakers.
By making a gift to WMCAT today, you provide the space and support for incredible students like Erion to untangle the knots, replace the broken bulbs and find the way to brilliance.