Top 10 in 10 in 2: Growing Talent Through Early/Middle Colleges

September 13, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs

Hello, I’m Sheila Alles, Chief Deputy Superintendent
at the Michigan Department of Education. . . .and this is another edition of the Top 10 in 10
in 2 Podcast. Much of the work we do at the MDE supports
implementing components of Michigan’s Strategic Plan to become a Top 10 education state in
10 years. A key element of the Strategic Plan is to
increase opportunities for student success through multiple pathways to graduation. Multiple pathways expand the approaches in
which students can meet and attain their academic and career goals. Early/Middle Colleges are one of the pathways
where students can achieve their academic and career goals by providing them with post-secondary
opportunities and career exploration. Students can earn their high school diploma
and up to 60 college credits or an associate degree, allowing them to walk into high-paying,
high-demand jobs, and meaningful careers in Michigan or go on to get a four bachelor degree. Due to the success of these programs, Early/Middle
Colleges have grown in number in our state from 71 in 2014 to 137 in 2017. While many schools and districts are doing
a great job of offering Early/Middle College opportunities to students; we need to make
these programs available to every student across the state. To do this, we need to strengthen, build capacity,
and align supports – through a multi-stakeholder collaboration with business and industry,
labor, and post-secondary education. This includes post-secondary institutions
partnering with schools to offer college courses to high school students. And it also includes job providers partnering
with schools to develop home-grown talent for careers that help keep our communities
strong. Highly-educated, highly-skilled talent will
draw new economic growth throughout our state. I encourage you to build these coalitions
in your communities where educators at all levels, families, job providers and students
are all partnering together. I also encourage you to start an early/middle
college in your district if you don’t already have one. We are laying out a roadmap districts can
use to be innovative and bold – to help increase achievement and success. And help us move forward to becoming a Top
10 education state in 10 years. Thank you.