Emerging Professionals Program Empowers MEP Women

Women in the Advanced Adult Basic Education Program participate in networking with local professional women.


At the end of November, two dozen students from Mercy Education Project’s Women’s Educational Services program and more than a dozen local professional women gathered at Henry Ford College in Dearborn for a day of networking and skill building. 

 The event was the capstone to our pilot program “Emerging Professionals,” a five week seminar led by professional consultants Mary Beth Weigel and Janette Philips, in which women from our advanced Adult Basic Education program learned more about who they are and where they are going, the key to developing the skills necessary to succeed in the professional world. 

 Helping women learn about their true self is what draws Mary Beth to MEP and the work we do to empower women and girls through education. She says, “If you lift up women, you lift up the whole family.”  She believes that  if  people find a career that is naturally who they are they will excel.”


Students and profressionals both reported that the program had a significant impact on their personal and career outlook.


 The half day conference included a keynote speaker who spoke on The Power of Networking, one-on-one networking with local professional women with time to rotate  so students could meet and experience mentoring from several different professionals and a round table dialogue luncheon.

 Many of the students felt honored and special to be given the opportunity to have the conference experience – one student remarked, “This is the first time I ever felt important.”

 "This event showed me that I can do anything, like becoming a nurse. One day, I will give back and be an inspiring woman to someone else" - Angelique, GED student.


Motivation, engagment and attendance have increased among participants in the program.


 “Teachers and tutors have seen a significant increase in engagement, motivation and attendance from all the students participating in the Emerging Professionals program.” said Director of Educational Services, Rosanne Plasky.  Studying for Adult Basic Education and GED testing can often seem like the end-goal and college and career programing like Emerging Professionals helps women look to their futures after the GED. 


Professional consultants Janette Philips (far left) and Mary Beth Weigel (far right) stand with MEP Women's Program Coordinator, Sally Jirjis (center left,) and Director of Educational Services, Rosanne Plasky (center right.)


We extend our deepest gratitude to Mary Beth and Janette for offering this enlightening course to our students and volunteering their time and expertise each week - culminating in this half day conference.    And many thanks to the professional women who networked with MEP students – sharing stories, experiences, and helping them think about and articulate a vision for their future.

 "It was definitely an experience of a lifetime, something I think of daily and really keeps me motivated to keep pushing forward.  Anything is possible to achieve my goals." - Kim, GED student.

 Students and professionals pose together at the end of the conference.


  This successful pilot program will be expanded to serve women in our GED program in 2018.  To support MEP and programs like this which help prepare our women and girls for college and careers, donate now.  Your gift can help #OpenADoor to a brighter future. 




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Here are some recent comments from community members, volunteers, students and others who are commenting on Mercy Education Project.


"Education is an opportunity and can be transformational for our most vulnerable communities; especially those, like us, working tirelessly in search of the American Dream. Programs like Mercy Education Project have successfully removed those barriers for many and have educated our women and girls and is transforming their lives."

JoAnn Chávez, Vice President Legal & Chief Tax Officer
DTE Energy, August 2017


"….Literacy is a fundamental right and an essential building block for a productive life. Increasing adult literacy also ensures more parents can be engaged in their children’s education, ,making this a cause  critical to helping families break the cycle of poverty. Thank you to Mercy Education Project for their tireless efforts to ensure everyone has an opportunity to learn to read. Together, I know we are making a difference.”

Warren C. Evans, Wayne County Executive
Wayne County, December 2016