By Trevor Leatzow, MI Bright Future Program Assistant
No matter your age, financial situation, or educational background, it has never been clearer that the only way to be successful in today’s economy is to have the dynamic knowledge and evolving skillset employers demand. For high schoolers, figuring out what that knowledge is and what those skills are can be increasingly difficult.
With counselors overburdened by a growing list of responsibilities, students often do not know where to turn to obtain real-time labor market information, find work-based learning opportunities, or simply have an interested adult pay attention to them and answer their questions. And high-school students are not the only ones who are struggling. Many local employers are watching helplessly as their talent pools slowly dry up, and they do not know what to do about it. That is where MI Bright Future comes in, to makes those elusive connections.
Wrapping up its first full academic year in school districts across six Michigan counties, MI Bright Future successfully helped bridge the gap that has long separated the worlds of education and industry—and what an exciting year it has been! The 2016-2017 academic year saw thousands of students and hundreds of employers engage with each other like never before. The simple, stream-lined communication tools available through MI Bright Future’s digital interface made it possible for students to discover local companies, ask questions of industry professionals, and begin exploring careers through work-based learning activities like internships and job shadows. These experiences have helped students discover their passions and chart the correct pathway needed to become a qualified worker in their field of interest.
In its first, full academic year, MI Bright Future was so successful that in addition to the communities it began the year in—Livingston, Oakland, Macomb, St. Clair and Wayne Counties—the program was also introduced to students in Lenawee County by the end of the school year, with several other communities expressing interest.
To ensure students utilizing the system can find occupations they are interested in and participate in as many work-based learning activities as they desire, MI Bright Future and its many education and workforce development partners have worked endlessly to share the program with as many employers as possible. To date, MI Bright Future has over 240 participating companies, over 370 Career Coaches, and over 1,340 work-based learning activities available to students – and the program is continuously expanding! By participating in MI Bright Future, employers gain the opportunity to have a vital role in developing the future workforce, and also have the ability to play a pivotal role in changing the lives of countless young people. As MI Bright Future increases its network of employer partners, more Michigan students will be able to find careers that interest them and determine what their future will be in the workforce.
For employers that are interested in being part of the MI Bright Future movement, registering is very simple. Visit www.MIBrightFuture.org and register for free. Once registered, an employer’s level of engagement is entirely up to them from answering students’ questions for 10 minutes a week, to taking the next step in training the workforce of tomorrow through internships, apprenticeships, or part-time jobs.
If you already participate with MI Bright Future, please know the MI Bright Future team sincerely thanks you for your support; this work would not be possible without you! MI Bright Future’s current success is a result of all the hard work partners have contributed, and the MI Bright Future team is thankful for the commitment.
If you have any questions, please contact the MI Bright Future team at firstname.lastname@example.org.