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Chocolate Shop Partner Awarded for Commitment to Youth with Barriers

October 26, 2020

A unique Kalamazoo business with a sweet mission was selected as the winner of October’s Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) Employer of the Month award. Confections with Convictions is a local delicatessen where every treat is handmade by a local youth who has embarked on a journey to remake themselves.Confections with Convictions logo

Anderson started the business in 2010 after working as a counselor for youth in the court system, where he observed something missing in the lives of youth with barriers: the opportunity to start over. Anderson took matters into his own hands and started a business where he could personally give youth that chance by employing and training them on the job.

Confections with Convictions, and its owner Dale Anderson, is a longtime employer partner of YOU, a Kalamazoo RESA career pathway program.

“It is helpful for our business that YOU has done some pre-screening and identified youth who were interested in working and who had already chosen a path of completing their education and achieving positive life goals,” Anderson said. “YOU staff have been active partners in supporting these young people educationally, emotionally, and with practical assistance.”

YOU has partnered with Confections with Convictions since it took on the JMG program in 2014, which is focused on raising high school graduation rates by expanding mentoring, job readiness, leadership development, and other academic support for students either at-risk of dropping out or those who already have dropped out. The business was nominated for the award by YEmployer of the Month award plaque OU Career Coach Debra James.

“We are thankful to have a partner like Dale,” James said. “Many of the youth in the JMG program have been referred to him for paid internships. Through this program, youth have been able to gain both job and life skills through his mentorship. He has always been a positive mentor for our youth and instrumental in their success.”

Anderson received the award in acknowledgment for his “exceptional commitment to ensuring all [of] Michigan’s young people succeed in education, employment and life.”

YOU is a career pathway organization providing young people in southwest Michigan with academic enrichment, training and workforce readiness opportunities designed to enhance individual and community-wide prosperity. Learn more by visiting