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Women’s History Month Blog: Women of WIN

Women's History Month

Michigan is filled with amazing women who have made ground-breaking advances in the state and around the country. Take for instance Merze Tate, a champion in higher education[1], Andra Rush, founder and CEO of Rush Trucking,  one of the first Native American woman-owned businesses in Michigan[2], or Harriet Quimby, the first woman to gain a pilot’s license in the United States. [3] All these women hail from Michigan and not only accomplished great feats for themselves, but paved the way for the generation of women after them.  In 2018, the annual workforce population of Michigan was 4,704,127, with 49% being female.[4] Women are increasingly becoming a large part of the workforce and are bringing outstanding change and progress to the state.

For this Women’s History Month, MI Bright Future wanted to celebrate women doing amazing work here in Michigan by talking with the innovative leadership of the Workforce Intelligence Network (WIN). In this interview Carrie Bonofiglio, MI Bright Future Business Partnerships Manager, Lisa Gordon, MI Bright Future Program Manager, Sarah Gregory, Director of Youth Strategy- MI Bright Future, Michele Ureste, Executive Director of WIN, and Michelle Wein, Senior Research Manager share their career paths and thoughts on how young women can stand out in today’s workforce.

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MI Bright Future Welcomes Partnership Opportunities

To whom it may concern,

The State of Michigan recently approved legislation to address the gap in workforce skills by increasing K-12 career awareness and competency-based learning. The Workforce Intelligence Network (WIN) was awarded a multi-year contract in 2018 for MI Bright Future, a talent development initiative in alignment with state workforce goals.

As Michigan transforms its economy to meet 21st century needs, it has become more important than ever to remove barriers between the state’s educational system and professional industries. This observation led WIN to develop MI Bright Future in 2015, and the State of Michigan to adopt the Marshall Plan for Talent in 2018, which included support to expand the scope and reach of MI Bright Future throughout the state.

MI Bright Future is a collaborative effort to increase youth career awareness and readiness through online resources to address workforce needs. The State of Michigan currently requires all students to complete Educational Development Plans (EDP) for career planning, with many districts utilizing software platforms to do so. MI Bright Future leverages and enhances these technologies by providing direct linkages between employers and high school students, thereby enhancing career planning through access to real-time interactions with experienced professionals.

WIN’s goal is to provide access to MI Bright Future to all Michigan students, regardless of their district’s chosen EDP platform. Public Act 227 (PA #227) highlights the requirements MI Bright Future must meet as it expands to additional communities. In order to effectively meet the goals of PA #227, WIN is happy to announce the opportunity for partnership with any software vendor that adequately meets the standards, requirements, and goals stated in PA #227.

If a vendor creates or can utilize existing web-based software to satisfy PA #227, WIN will work with them to provide their clients access to MI Bright Future. Upon agreement of partnership, the vendor’s technology platform will be populated by the MI Bright Future team with propriety information collected, managed, and owned by WIN. However, interested vendors unable to meet stated needs will not be selected for partnership.

Interested vendors may contact the Director of Youth Strategy and MI Bright Future at the Workforce Intelligence Network, Sarah Gregory, directly by email or phone to discuss the potential for partnership:, 734.934.4510.

Sincerest regards,

Michele Economou-Ureste

Executive Director, Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan

Blog: Three Creative Ways to use MI Bright Future

MI Bright Future is a platform for students and educators to explore and interact with professionals and businesses throughout the state of Michigan. It allows users to explore careers and employers in a meaningful way. There are several ways to use the program, including career/company discussion boards, company profiles, and work-based learning activities. Through this program, educators can greatly impact a student’s post-secondary career pathway and relate what they are learning in school to their future careers . Below are three creative ways to incorporate MI Bright Future in the classroom.

Create EDP activities to explore MI Bright Future:

Educators can use MI Bright Future to create student activities that count towards EDP completion. These activities are unique to every educator and can be customized by grade level or to a group of students. Creating EDP activities to explore MI Bright Future is a good way to introduce the program to students and encourage them to interact with it in a constructive manner. Activities like drafting a career coach question, looking up a particular industry in the region, or finding a local company and exploring their work-based learning activities helps students learn how to use the program effectively to interact with businesses. Educators can create EDP activities in the Career Advisor Management System (CAMS) through the EDP Completion Standards tab under the “Required Assignments & Activities” by selecting “add an assignment”. Connect with the MI Bright Future team to learn more!

Have a “MI Bright Future Lesson” in your classroom:

A new resource available to educators are MI Bright Future lesson plans! These lesson plans were developed in response to school partners requesting resources to guide educators and students through the MI Bright Future system and serve as support when the MI Bright Future team cannot be in the classrooms. They cover topics such as internet safety, importance of soft skills, and best practices with social media. These plans are great for classrooms just starting out with MI Bright Future or those that want a “refresher” with students. Facilitation of the lesson plans is first done by one of MI Bright Future’s Implementation Coordinators, and then, through discussion with school staff, can be facilitated by educators themselves. The lesson plans meet Common Core College and Career Readiness standards. To learn more about MI Bright Future lesson plans, contact MI Bright Future at

Think outside the box with work-based learning :

One of the main functions of MI Bright Future is requesting work-based learning activities from local businesses and professionals. This feature is especially versatile and can be used to engage with students through creative means. One way to use work-based learning activities is by hosting a competition with a local business. For example, educators can use work-based learning activities for an art class doing a project that will be evaluated by a local designer or artist. Another way to use work-based learning activities is to have local professionals come in and do mock interviews with students to prepare them for job interviews. These out-of-the-box examples not only get students to interact with local businesses, but also allows for relationships to form between businesses and educators.

Want to learn more creative ways to improve your school’s career exploration activities? We invite you to join our educator focused Twitter Chat on Thursday, January 24th, 2019 at 3:00pm using the hashtag #MIBrightChat.

How will you benefit?

  • Learn from educators across Michigan on how to build relationships with companies and find career exposure opportunities for students.
  • Gain a full perspective on the importance of incorporating career readiness activities in K-12 education.
  • Collaborate with educators utilizing MI Bright Future to grow Michigan’s future talent.

Are you new to Twitter Chats? Contact us at for more information and assistance.

Blog: How to prepare your students for their future today!

In Michigan, there are a lack of individuals who have obtained a degree or certification towards careers in high-demand industries, such as health care, IT, skilled trades, and engineering and design. [1] In response, MI Bright Future is a statewide initiative to grow the next generation of qualified candidates and in turn narrow the gap in Michigan’s workforce demand. The program makes career-related information accessible online to high school students and their educators! Here are four tools to help you jump start your students’ journey towards a rewarding career.

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Blog: MI Bright Future and Work-based learning activities: A match for a successful workforce

Work-based learning activities (WLAs) are activities offered by individual professionals or businesses to provide students real workplace experiences, and a chance to engage seriously with the economic, social and educational demands of the modern workforce.[1] WLAs not only provide students career exposure and on-the-job learning, but also an opportunity to develop key employment skills, such as communication and teamwork. Companies that offer WLAs raise local awareness of their business and industry, provide guidance to students on how to be successful in their field, and have an opportunity to identify prospective future employees.Read More

Blog: Building your future workforce with MI Bright Future

A healthy workforce pipeline is crucial to Michigan’s economic sustainability and growth. Michigan would struggle to develop, attract, and retain the next generation of qualified workers if not for the collaboration between business, government, community, and education. This type of collaboration is at the heart of MI Bright Future. By connecting businesses with local schools through an easy-to-use online system, MI Bright Future allows companies to take a proactive role in developing the state’s talent and securing its future in Michigan.

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Michigan Schools & Government Credit Union Award Scholarships

Participating MI Bright Future organization Michigan Schools & Government Credit Union has awarded $67,500 in scholarship money to local students and educators. Read below to learn more about the awards and their recipients. Congratulations to all those who were selected!
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Internships Available RIGHT NOW

Looking for an internship RIGHT NOW? The companies below have internship opportunities available today! If you’re interested in finding out more, log into MI Bright Future, visit the company’s profile and message the company contact.
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Engaging Students with Active Learning

If you want to increase student interest in your class, add “extreme” to its title. That strategy worked for University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) professor Perry Samson, who more than doubled the number of students attending his meteorology class, “Weather and Climate,” by renaming it “Extreme Weather.” But if your goal is to improve student outcomes, Samson says, employ active learning techniques, an approach that improved examination performance among his students by just under half a standard deviation.

New push to promote science and tech education

LANSING (AP) — High school students could be awarded a special endorsement on their diploma if they earn enough credits in science, technology, engineering and math under bills advancing in the Michigan Legislature.