Intensify hands-on training and work experience for youth. That is one of five public priorities identified in a recent publication of the Center For Michigan. Their report entitled Getting to Work outlines the public’s agenda for improving career navigation, college affordability, and upward mobility in Michigan.  

This report offers some sobering statistics. Note that:

  • School counselors are outnumbered. There are more than 700 students for each school counselor in Michigan.
  • Fewer youth, are gaining solid work experience. In 2000, nearly 50% of 16-19 year olds in Southeast Michigan were employed. In 2012 that number dropped to 27% – placing metro Detroit among the worst regions in the nation for youth employment.  

The inability of many students, to have access to personalized career counseling, and the absence of hands-on work experiences, confirms the need for the out of class opportunities that the DPS Foundation has focused on with interactions beyond the classroom. Support for field trips, academic competitions, sports, master classes, etc. expands each students world view and knowledge of options. Introducing students to corporations, organizations, and people that they would not encounter in their day to day lives adds a significant component to their education. There is simply no substitute for experience. Our goal is to ensure that every student has an opportunity for growth and fulfillment, as well as career preparation through multiple experiences. We know that it matters.

Glenda D. Price, PhD