College and Career Readiness

The STEM Impact Initiative Study from 2014 gave 4 specific recommendations for the Great Lakes Bay Region to build a STEM Talent Pipeline.

  1. Driven by Employer Demand
  2. Powered by Career-Ready and College-Ready Students
  3. Focused on Strengthening Technical Skills Needed for the Economy
  4. Sustained by a Culture of STEM

As such, in 2015 STEM Networks were established across the Great Lakes Bay Region to focus on these 4 recommendations.

The Network has been gathering data from regional educators to develop programs to increase interest in math and computer science. Initially, the Network launched the Middle School Math Project which started with 6 pilot projects taking place in the region with the goal of improving middle school math scores. Project leaders identified nationally recognized programs that engage students in math activities or provide professional development to teachers. The Network then arranged for funding sources, encouraged local school districts to apply for participation and selected final participants.

Currently, thousands of students and teachers in the region are taking part in the program. By the fall of 2018, over 2,000 additional students will be engaged in ST Math interventions and the teacher professional development programs will continue at two sites. The Saginaw Valley State University professional development is based on the Virginia Math Specialist Program and the Gratiot-Isabella RESD project is a Professional Learning Community(PLC).

Employer Talent Pipeline

Employer Talent Pipeline can help grow a STEM-based workforce through student work experience and training. Discover tools to get started or improve your co-op or internship program, and learn how to identify STEM skills needed to perform jobs at your business.

Driven by Employer Demand and Strengthening Technical Skills

Mid Michigan Community College and Delta College facilitate an Employer Talent Pipeline Project to encourage business and education partnerships with a primary goal of increasing experiential learning to enhance the regional workforce.

The Network created a Work-Based Learning Toolkit to help employers, educators, parents, and advisors navigate the many ways to be engaged in various learning opportunities. The options for the toolkit vary from job shadowing to co-op employment and internships. The toolkit is available by clicking the image below.

Work-based learning benefits students, businesses, and the community. Any, business- no matter how large or small- can benefit from engaging students in these types of learning opportunities. Work-based learning comes in a variety of forms and can be short or long-term in nature. Work-based learning engages students and builds the workforce of tomorrow by:

  • Providing students “real life” hands-on learning opportunities in the field
  • Creating positive public relations and increasing awareness about local opportunities

The Employer Talent Pipeline will work across industry and education sector lines to:

  • Create and implement a model for employer-driven experiential learning opportunities.
  • Implement useful tools for multi-dimensional communication to create greater clarity for employer, prospective employees, parents, and students.
  • Identify prioritize the occupations for which skill requirements should be defined,
  • Identify, organize, and improve the many ways in which employers are currently communicating skills and competencies needed to the skill providers.
  • Assist and support employers so that they can provide thought-leadership on demand forecasting and skills and competencies needed to the skill provider.

The Network also addressed the needs of employers, promoting the use of common language that allows K-12 and higher education systems to better prepare students for the workforce. The Network gathered information from more than 200 registered nurses around the region in a validation study that led to a developing curriculum, otherwise known as a DACUM. The process included a nursing employer/educator summit at Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw. The results of the process include a summary report with recommendations for regional progress. A DACUM focused on welding was the second project of this type. The nursing and welding studies are available here.

DACUM is built on three concepts:

  1. Expert workers can describe and define their job/occupation more accurately than anyone else.
  2. An effective way to define a job/occupation is to precisely describe the tasks that expert workers perform.
  3. All tasks, when performed correctly, demand the use of certain knowledge and skills; tools, equipment, supplies and materials; and positive worker behaviors.

The result is an occupational profile which serves as a solid base upon which new competency-based education or training programs can be developed or existing programs updated. Should you want more information on DACUM, please contact Jennifer Carroll, Director of Corporate Services at jennifercarroll@delta.edu.

Out of School Time

The Out-of-School Time networks seeks to support regional partnerships, featuring dynamic collaborations among out-of-school programs. We create opportunities to think “outside of the box” and recognize that learning can occur inside and outside the classroom. Our goal is to create access and equity to high quality OST STEM learning experiences.

The Out-of-School Time Network is focused on Creating Career-Ready and College-Ready Students and Developing a Culture of STEM.

Schools offer a variety of Out-Of-School Time STEM experiences, such as FIRST Robotics and You Be The Chemist, as do community organizations including the Midland Hall of Ideas, the Delta College Planetarium in Bay City and the Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum in Saginaw. The Network has worked diligently to encourage collaboration across entities, build alignment of curriculum, provide professional development opportunities, and increase access for underserved populations.

Regional collaboration between staff at the five Intermediate School District’s with the generous support from the Dow Corning Foundation has resulted in Math in the Mail, a free program focused on developing mathematical skills in 3-year-old children by providing tools for parents, guardians, and other caregivers.

This program is complemented by another success story, Bedtime Math, which targets children between 3 and 8 years old. This free program encourages continued practice of math skills at home during a crucial time in a child’s intellectual development.