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Marshall Plan Awards $500,000 To Jackson County’s Career Readiness Consortium

Round one innovation grant award winners pose for a group photo at the Michigan Library Auditorium on Monday, December 17, 2018.  Photo by Claire Abendroth, Photographer at Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan.

Jackson County’s Career Readiness Talent Consortium is being awarded $500,000 from the state’s Talent and Economic Development Department and Department of Education.  Jackson County is one of nine talent consortia to be awarded grants to start and grow innovative education models in the Marshall Plan for Talent Innovation.

Governor Rick Snyder signed the Marshall Plan for Talent into law on June 26, 2018. Under the Public Act, $100 million was appropriated to the Talent Investment Fund to improve the state’s talent pool.

The Jackson County Career Readiness Talent Consortium will hire additional support personnel to assist counselors and support students who have a post-secondary plan. The consortium will also expand professional development for educators to be able to instruct in career readiness and work-based learning.

Jackson County schools in the partnership include Jackson County Intermediate School District, Jackson Public Schools, Northwest Community Schools, Western School District, Grass Lake Public Schools,  Concord Public Schools, East Jackson Public Schools,  Hanover Horton Public Schools,  Springport Public Schools,  Michigan Center Schools and Vandercook Lake Public Schools.  There are a total of 34 partners, which also include Jackson College, Spring Arbor University, Consumers Energy, Henry Ford Allegiance Health, Enterprise Group and Jackson County Chamber of Commerce. Several other businesses, non-profits and community organizations round out the group of partners.

Eight other consortia from around the state were awarded grants, including $200,000 to the Stockbridge High School InvenTeam™.  This Consortium will be focused on training for high-skill, high-demand and high-paying careers in Information Technology and Computer Science, Manufacturing and Professional Trades. Skills to be included in training will be communication, collaboration, problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. 

“The Marshall Plan for Talent is one of the great things we have going on in the state – it’s an investment in our young people and their futures,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “This plan is at the forefront of improving our education and talent development practices. It also ensures Michigan’s young people have an opportunity to earn a rewarding, high-demand, high-wage career, for the next five years and for decades to come.”

“Michigan students win when we all come together to develop creative and innovative solutions to better prepare them for the future and lifelong learning,” Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan Chief of Staff Jeremy Hendges said. “Today’s awardees have truly innovative plans to reinvent our education system and state, and we’re excited to see them get to work in preparing all Michiganders for the high-demand, high-wage careers of today and tomorrow.”

Consortia shaped their applications around five key and high-demand, high-wage sectors: healthcare, information technology/computer science, manufacturing, Professional Trades and other business trades.

Of the $15 million in awards announced today, $2.35 million will go to purchasing nearly 100 pieces of state-of-the-art equipment students can use to learn, with hands-on experience. Another $4.78 million will go toward hiring career navigators who will help students explore career options and pathways in Michigan while providing needed support to school counselors who are overwhelmed – each serving on average 729 students yearly. And $256,625 will go toward evolving some districts to a district-wide competency-based education model, while $7.56 million will help develop world-class curricula for each consortium.

Over the past eight years, the state has increased K-12 education funding by $2.1 billion, including significant investments in resources for career and technical education, middle college programs and equipment, and increased spending in science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs to get students excited about opportunities in these fields of study.

“We saw a remarkable response in this first round,” Gov. Snyder said. “More than 771 entities partnered together to apply for these funds, requesting more than $80 million in funding. And while not all of them were awarded today, there are no losers. We know the innovation and partnerships will continue. And that’s why Michigan’s reinvention will continue.”

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