The West Michigan Talent Triangle will support efforts to provide students with greater access to college and career opportunities.
In West Michigan we’re working directly with the business community to build partnerships and gain a better understanding of the careers that await our students. Our regional economic success is dependent on our ability to grow and retain the talent necessary to staff growing companies. The better prepared our students are for these jobs, and the greater exposure they have to college and careers through early college courses and workplace internships, the more likely they are to pursue a career path that allows them to stay in West Michigan.
One example of this work is the MiCareerQuest event that last year brought together more than 8,200 students and nearly 100 employers from four key career paths promising dramatic growth in West Michigan. In this setting employers get to show students what the world of work is all about and, more importantly, connects their learning with their future goals and ambitions.
We also are focused on providing high school students the opportunity to earn college credit while in high school through AP courses, middle colleges, concurrent enrollment and dual enrollment. These courses expose students to the rigor of a college education, reducing the shock many experience in the transition from high school to college. Participation in these programs is at an all-time high with more opportunities coming.
Legislators would be well served to ensure students have flexibility in the curriculum to explore their passions and interests. In addition, we need better coordination between our K-12 and post-secondary institutions to provide opportunities for students to acquire college credit earlier. Doing so will increase the likelihood they will go to college while reducing the amount of debt they incur and time spent in college.
"West Michigan is taking the lead on providing college and career exposure opportunities for students. Between the Muskegon Promise, dual enrollment, middle colleges and AP classes we're giving students a jump start in their college education." Dr. John Severson, Superintendent, Muskegon Area Intermediate School District