Things to do in Michigan Over Winter Break

Winter break has finally begun! Now that finals are over you can rest peacefully without nightmares of sleeping through your alarm for that 7:00 a.m. final or the “battery dead” symbol flashing just as you hit “=” on your T-89 calculator. Whether you are traveling or staying in the mitten this holiday season, you can finally take a deep (cold) breath and unwind!

For those of you staying in Michigan (and were too busy studying to plan a fun, action packed winter break) we thought we would get together a list of exciting events that are happening throughout the next few weeks!   Check out the list below and if you attend any, let us know how the events were on our Facebook page here.

Happy Holidays from GTRI!


Home for the Holidays with Helen Welch | Concert

Friday, December 19, 2014, 8pm.

Dawson Auditorium, Adrian College Holiday music that warms the heart. Helen Welch, vocalist. Ticketed events.


Holiday Kalamazoo Indoor Flea & Farmers Market

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Special Holiday Market! Come check out the market for some great deals and great merchandise! Choose from lots of holiday items, new and used items, handcrafted items, fresh and local foods, and much more! 75 booths available! Hours: 8am-3pm in Main Expo.


Annie | Theatre Performance

December 16 – 21

Leapin’ Lizards! The world’s best-loved musical returns! Directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin, this production of Annie will be a brand-new incarnation of the iconic original. With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie is determined to find her parents, who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of an orphanage run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan. With the help of the other orphans, Annie escapes to the wondrous world of New York. In a series of adventures, Annie foils Miss Hannigan’s evil machinations and befriends President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and finds a new home with billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt named Sandy. Featuring book and score by Tony Award® winners Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, Annie includes such unforgettable songs as It’s the Hard-knock Life, Easy Street, and the eternal anthem of optimism, Tomorrow.


All I Want For Christmas

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Detroit apparel, handmade jewelry, artisan food products, custom artwork, prom dresses, lace front wigs, and more. Twenty-five local vendors. Convenient, free parking. Live, holiday music and live art demonstrations. Free admission.



The Nutcracker | DeVos Performance Hall

December 12 – 21

Grand Rapids Ballet dazzles with an extravagant production of The Nutcracker. Friday and Saturday performances at 7:30pm and Saturday and Sunday performance at 2pm. December 12-14 and 19-21.


Hot New Year’s Eve Celebration

December 31, 2014 – Janruary 1, 2015

Hot New Year’s Eve Celebration will host a ball drop at midnight. Live entertainment will include Cobra Starship, The Outer Vibe, Dyllan Murray, and Grand Rapids Got Talent winner, Fire Alarm. There will be a warming tent with free hot chocolate and coffee for all who pass through. Starts at 7pm.


Midnight on Main | New Year’s Eve Celebration

December 31, 2014 – Janruary 1, 2015

You need to be here to ring in the New Year! This New Year’s Eve, there’s no better place to be than in Downtown Midland! It’s Midnight on Main, but the party begins long before midnight with a full schedule of entertainment and activities. The event features four heated tents, 10 bars, food vendors, Michigan’s largest ball drop and an exciting fireworks display. End the year on a high note and celebrate in style at Midnight on Main! The event is held on Main Street, from Gordon Street to Townsend Street, in Downtown Midland. Ticketed event for ages 21+. Information and tickets available at the website link.




For more events visit

Upwardly Global Seeking Intern

Upwardly Global, founded in 2000, is a national and award-winning nonprofit organization with offices in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Detroit. Upwardly Global helps work-authorized, skilled immigrants rebuild their professional careers in the U.S. by providing professional job-search training and access to employers with global talent needs.

Upwardly Global is steadfast in its core belief in the potential of immigrant professionals and the power of employers to create large-scale social change while achieving bottom line results. We pride ourselves on fostering a culture of results-orientation, entrepreneurial spirit, and a sense of the possible.  For more information about the organization, please visit

Description: The Michigan Program Assistant Intern is an initially unpaid position that will be responsible for providing administrative and program support to the new Upwardly Global Michigan office. The ideal candidate will be a highly professional, resourceful, and a self-motivated individual who wants to both contribute to and grow with Upwardly Global.

Additional Skills Required:

  • Some experience as a program or administrative assistant required
  • Some experience conducting phone outreach or client services to diverse populations preferred
  • Excellent English communication skills including writing skills
  • High level of computer proficiency with MS Office and familiarity with databases such as Salesforce
  • High level of organization and attention to detail
  • Strong ability to work autonomously, multi-task, and prioritize
  • Commit to 15-20 hours per week, schedule TBD. 3-6 month commitment.

Breakout of Responsibilities:


  • Manage onboarding process for Upwardly Global’s Michigan applicants to verify their qualifications and information
  • Support basic Salesforce data entry projects
  • Conduct research on industry- or employer-specific job postings in support of Online team
  • Help to answer incoming phones and direct calls to staff


  • Call candidates to confirm training participation or encourage to continue with training
  • Promote and register candidates for all workshops (e.g. sending out email announcements and reminders, registering JS on database, coordinating resumes, job descriptions, volunteer training materials etc.)
  • Conduct check-in calls with last year’s online participants to uncover job placements or updates
  • Meet weekly with supervisor to review workload
  • Additional event planning support as necessary


  • Coordinate alumni videos for organizational marketing use, including success stories and interview question videos
  • Compile and distribute training resources to jobseekers after training completion via email
  • Research and create new employer profiles in Salesforce based on the companies where alumni have found work and connect to alumni profiles

For consideration, please submit resume and cover letter to Annie Fenton, Senior Program Associate, at




GTRI’s Director Dr. Athena Trentin Bids Farewell, Says Thank You

Every so often, it is important to take time to reflect on where you have been, where you are, and where you are going.  As I look back at the day I was asked to create a program focused on strengthening Michigan’s economy through the retention of Michigan’s international student population, I remember feeling honored, confident, and unsure.  Honored to be the person chosen to create the very first program of its kind in the U.S., confident I was well qualified for the task, but unsure of exactly what this program would become.  Having no template was a curse as well as a blessing.  A curse because there was no research, no mentorship, and no one to help me predict what would and would not work.  A blessing, because it gave me full creative freedom to develop networks, strategies, and programs that have never been tried.  This trial and error period was very exciting and allowed me to develop networks of people and organizations who helped me develop GTRI into the thriving program it is today.


As I look at where we are today, I see the results of a very successful three years.  We have grown from a staff of one to four and a few interns, established a well-recognized identity, fostered strong partnerships with universities, economic development organizations, private businesses, and state government, and we have developed very unique mechanisms to connect international students with job opportunities here in Michigan; resources international students across the U.S. have been searching for since long before I entered the field of International Education.  We have decreased frustration not only for international students, but for employers as well, by demystifying the immigration process and developing more streamlined avenues for both groups to find each other – most notably our GOemployer program, GOregistry, and Michigan’s Global Future conferences.


As I look forward, I see GTRI’s continued success and strengthening of relationships with all our stakeholders, working together to make Michigan one of the most attractive destinations not only for international students, but everyone who values diversity, attracting the best and brightest, and of course, those who are excited about being part of something bigger than themselves.  It was with this vision that GTRI’s programs were structured, and with this vision I the torch will be passed.  I have put my heart and my soul into this program and although it has been a very difficult decision to move on to my next adventure, I know I am leaving GTRI in very capable hands.  AS of January 1, 2015, our Corporate Outreach Manager, Jeff Towns, will be taking over my role as Executive Director.  He has developed exceptional partnerships with our employers and possesses the non-profit leadership experience that will take GTRI to the next level.  I am very confident you will find him and our staff just as passionate as ever about our mission.


As I have said many times, GTRI would not be where it is today without the support we have received from all professional sectors and all the individuals who have believed in us and our charge.  I cannot express in words how important that has been to me as GTRI has grown and how grateful I am to have had friends and partners like you in my corner.  Thank you!

The President Has Spoken on Immigration: What Does It Mean For YOU?

Among the recent presidential actions on immigration are provisions to modernize, improve and clarify immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to grow our economy and create jobs – with the greatest economic impact affecting U.S. businesses, foreign investors, researchers, inventors and skilled foreign workers.

While specifics won’t be known about changes to economic oriented immigration policy until the guidance and regulations are issued, the effect of changes in the regulations impacting foreign students will be primarily among F1 visa holders. For foreign students specifically, further expansion and extension of optional practical training (OPT) is being proposed which could open the door to great opportunity for both students and employers alike. The next step in this process is for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to develop regulations for notice and public comment on the changes. No timeline for this process has yet been established.

What this means for international students interested in staying in the US after graduation for experiential education could be profound, likely further extending the current 17 month STEM extension period, as well as the expanding the designated degree programs that qualify. Currently, certain students who graduate with a STEM degree are eligible to remain in the United States for an additional 17 months (beyond the standard 12 months) on an optional practical training (OPT) STEM extension. Students may qualify for an additional 17 months of OPT under the following circumstances:

  1. Your degree for your current period of post-completion OPT is a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree in a STEM program listed on the Department of Homeland Security’s STEM designated degree program list
  2. The employer from which you are seeking work uses the E-Verify Program
  3. You have not already received a 17-month extension of OPT
    Approximately 10,000 students are currently working in Michigan on OPT, and over 29,000 international students are studying in Michigan colleges and universities. The purpose of the presidential actions relative to STEM expansion/extension is clear – to further open a pathway to experiential employment in the United States for talented foreign students to lessen the talent shortages so widely reported by employers, while improving the Michigan and national economies.

What can you do as a student? Prepare. Begin by completing a Free profile of yourself on the GTRI GOregistry, and make certain that you have a current “American styled” resume for employers to review.

What can you do as an employer? Prepare. Apply to GTRI to become a Global Opportunity Employer, GOemployer, and consider participating as an employer in the GOregistry for unlimited access to skilled global talent waiting to hear from you. To learn more about the GOregistry please contact Jeff at GTRI at or by calling 517-290-0853.