Program connects students and employers to align career readiness with job demand
As part of the state’s School Aid Fund and the renewed commitment of the Michigan legislature to provide career pathway development for K-12 students, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has designated $1 million in funding to support and expand MI Bright Future, a program that allows students to connect with local employers to gain valuable experience and, ultimately, a successful career pathway post high school.
Managed by the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN), MI Bright Future has been piloted and operating in six southeast Michigan counties over the past two years, and is one of several new programs added to the State School Aid budget for fiscal year 2017-2018. The state support will help to deepen the reach of the program in southeast Michigan, as well as expand beyond to other regions of the state. MI Bright Future Senior Program Manager Sarah Sebaly added, “This investment will help to expand our efforts statewide for students, and ready our future workforce with the in-demand skills businesses are looking for.”
Using an online tool available anywhere with an internet connection, that is managed and monitored in conjunction with teachers and counselors, MI Bright Future connects students to local companies and organizations that are offering various types of learning opportunities, ranging from group company tours and job shadows to internships and apprenticeships.
The online system filters by job type, industry, and/or education level or major, and can also show students companies local to them, encouraging connections to their local community. Through the experiences companies are offering, students gain valuable knowledge and insight into the industries and jobs available to them, right in their own backyards. This type of exposure has been shown to not only help students feel more prepared in making career and education choices, but to also help them understand the relevancy and importance of business applications and concepts they are learning in the classroom.
“The best way for students to understand what we do, and careers in energy, is to experience it directly. We use this tool to engage with students, teachers, and counselors across the state,” said Sharon Miller, Michigan Talent Architect, Consumers Energy.
For more information on how to become a MI Bright future member or sponsor, please visit mibrightfuture.org. Interested school districts are encouraged to get in touch with local administration to connect to the program.
ABOUT MI BRIGHT FUTURE
MI Bright Future is a dedicated group of K-12 education, higher education, workforce development and employer partners who are working to bring a technology called Career Cruising Inspire (ccInspire) to Southeast Michigan schools. ccInspire is a software enhancement to Career Cruising, the technology schools in the region are already using to create Educational Development Plans, which are required by the Michigan Department of Education. ccInspire is a community-development platform that makes it easy for students and educators to learn about and connect with local employers and community mentors. Through e-mentoring, message boards, and company profiles, ccInspire connects what’s happening in today’s classroom with current and projected needs among local employers.
The MI Bright Future partnership is currently in the counties of Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, and Wayne and is expected to reach close to 169,000 students at full launch. Current partners include Workforce Intelligence Network, Oakland Schools, Macomb Community College, Schoolcraft College, Henry Ford College, Career Cruising, Livingston County Michigan Works!, Lenawee Now, Oakland Community College, Career Jump Start, Detroit Regional Chamber, Southeast Michigan Community Alliance, and Macomb-St. Clair Michigan Works.