Connect with us


Norway senior gets paid position with IM DDA



NORWAY HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR Aaliyah Milbraith has qualified for a part-time paid position with the Iron Mountain Downtown Development Authority through U.P. Michigan Works! work-based learning program. From left are Carmen Thomma-Frank, business services specialist with U.P. Michigan Works!; Iron Mountain City Manager Jordan Stanchina; DDA Program Coordinator Tim McCauley; Milbraith; DDA Events Coordinator Kenzie Williamsen; and First National Bank & Trust Marketing Director Michael R. Gayan. (Terri Castelaz/Daily News photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — The Iron Mountain Downtown Development Authority will have an extra set of hands this summer.

Aaliyah Milbraith is able to continue her position with the DDA through a partnership with the city of Iron Mountain and U.P. Michigan Works!

The Norway High School senior has been a student intern with the DDA, a requisite of the marketing 2 class at the Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District Career and Technical Education Center.

“Her contributions were highly valued by the city of Iron Mountain and DDA staff, who wished to afford her the opportunity to witness the fruition of her projects and gain a comprehensive marketing experience,” said Carmen Thomma-Frank, business services specialist with U.P. Michigan Works! “However, the constraints of their budget would not allow her to retain this position as a paid employee.”

In a proactive move — leveraging professional networks — the city sought assistance from U.P. Michigan Works!, Thomma-Frank said.

AALIYAH MILBRAITH is hosting the Iron Mountain Downtown Development Authority “pop-up shop” through May 15 at First National Bank & Trust in Iron Mountain as a fundraiser for the downtown beautification program. (Terri Castelaz/Daily News photo)

Milbraith met with local staff and determined she was a qualified candidate for a paid 12-week work opportunity.

Through the work-based learning program, Milbraith is able to complete projects she worked on throughout the school year and gain valuable, hands-on experience.

DDA Events Coordinator Kenzie Williamsen said this was the first time the DDA has worked with the DIISD internship program.

“I think it’s great the way it worked out,” she said. “Going into college, I realized that she needed a paid position or I would have proposed to have her stay on as a volunteer, but knew it wasn’t probably something she could have taken.”

Milbraith will start her 20-hour a week paid position on May 28, staying through Aug. 17.

“This is an opportunity that I believe that many high schoolers don’t get,” Milbraith said. “I’m grateful — it will help keep me creative and get me prepared for college.”

Williamsen added she agrees having that “real-world engagement” before taking college courses helps a person retain that knowledge.

“Aaliyah has been a significant asset to our team since joining us as an intern in her last year of high school back in September,” DDA Program Coordinator Tim McCauley said. “I’m delighted that she will be staying with us throughout the summer, and I’m confident she’ll be doing a great job for the community.”

Milbraith is currently hosting the “pop-up shop” through May 15 at the First National Bank & Trust in Iron Mountain, as a fundraiser for the beautification program.

“She did all the research for the project on her own,” Williamsen noted. “Now she will be able to see this through and work on where her next location will be.”

“When she brought the idea to us we were very receptive to it, and felt it was a great way to support the beautification program,” First National Bank & Trust Marketing Director Michael R. Gayan said, adding he also has an intern and believes it’s an important asset to provide to area youth.

The event season kicks off its weekly Out to Lunch and Farmers & Artisans Market in June.

“We have a packed summer that includes two of our larger festivals,” Williamsen said. “Now is the perfect time — not only do we appreciate the extra help, it benefits her to see firsthand what goes into running each one of the events and programs.”

As part of her duties this summer, Milbraith will assist with running the summer music series that takes place each Thursday.

She will help with social media pages and planning of each activitiy as well as Italian Fest.

Milbraith will witness many aspects in being a coordinator, including how the weather becomes a factor and being very adaptable, Williamsen said.

The DDA is currently working on the “Art in the Lights” project, another unique experience Milbraith will take part in, from sponsorships, doing the lights and working with the department of public works.

Williamsen has also invited her to attend a “Business After Hours” event.

“These are a perfect opportunity to show her how networking works,” she added. “It’s not just an on-base job, it’s a community-based job.”

“I’m super excited — I keep saying, ‘It’s filling my cup,’” she said.

While U.P. Michigan Works! and the city have developed a great working relationship over the years, this is the agency’s first with the DDA program, Thomma-Frank said.

“I am looking forward to this extra time with the DDA and working with the community,” Milbraith said.

Milbraith will graduate May 24, and plans to pursue an associate’s degree in marketing this fall at Northern Michigan University.

Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox

Continue Reading