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Three Michigan Schools Receive 2014 Excellence in Practice Awards

February 12, 2014

LANSING – Three Michigan schools, which have done exemplary jobs preparing students for careers and higher education, are winners of Excellence in Practice Awards from the Michigan Department of Education (MDE).

EPA recognizes exemplary, state-approved Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Career and College Readiness (CRR) initiatives.

"Career and Technical Education is helping our state meet the very real and immediate challenges of student achievement, career and college readiness, and global competitiveness," said State Superintendent Mike Flanagan.

Programs must demonstrate outstanding outcomes and produce measurable results for students while maintaining high academic rigor. The programs provide excellent support for career and college planning and high academic expectations, while linking secondary education to work-based learning, college and careers.

“Early career exposure and hands-on experience provides opportunities for students to begin thinking about the world of work and ‘why they need to learn academic and technical content’, Flanagan said. “Students are better positioned to make important choices about their education as it relates to their future career and postsecondary education.

"Through rigorous academic and technical preparation, relevant learning opportunities and the supportive relationships of educators and families, students are better positioned to steer toward college and careers."

2014 Career and College Readiness Initiative Excellence in Practice Award winners are:

Downriver Career Technical Consortium

The partnership between the Downriver Career Technical Consortium (DCTC) and the Flat Rock Assembly Plant (FRAP)-Ford has exemplified how a local business can support initiatives to make sure CTE students are career- and college-ready. The partnership has developed a successful work-based learning experience for CTE students in its technical training lab. This year the partnership expanded to include a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) component. Students actually operate the FANUC-made robots used at FRAP. Upon completion of the experience, students obtain a certificate listing their competencies.

This cutting-edge program addresses the aging workforce in the manufacturing sector, allowing students to apply the math and science concepts they learned.

Utica Community Schools – Utica Center for Science and Industry

The Utica Center for Science and Industry (USCI) is successfully preparing students for the challenges of college and career. It is a half-day magnet program where students study the technical areas of engineering technology, mechatronics or multimedia production along with the core content areas of English and mathematics. USCI is a dynamic, unique learning environment where students flourish amid technology, collaboration and creativity. Ninety-eight percent of its graduates have gone on to postsecondary study, and UCSI students earned half of the positions in the prestigious new Michigan Advanced Technology Training Program (MAT2). It has been recognized for its excellence by Automation Alley and the Michigan Association of School Boards, and featured on NBC News, The Hechinger Report and, locally, WWJ Radio.

Students in the program experience substantial and meaningful integration of English and math in the technical pathways. This academic integration occurs in projects small and large, such as the “Dashboard Project,” which called upon students to research, design and present a visually-appealing and functional virtual automotive dashboard that helped drivers reduce fuel consumption.

2014 Excellence in Practice Award for Career and Technical Education Program was presented to: Eaton RESA Career Preparation Center Insurance and Risk Management Program

The Eaton Regional Service Agency’s Insurance and Risk Management program provides mid-Michigan area high school students the opportunity to explore careers in insurance and risk management through a nationally-recognized program operated by Olivet College. Students investigate the process of risk management and the field of insurance, including social value, economic influence, loss exposures and protection, marketing, claims adjusting, underwriting, personal insurance, financial planning and commercial insurance.

This program also prepares students to take three Associate in General Insurance (AINS) national certification exams administered by the Insurance Institute of America.

Instruction takes place at the National Headquarters of Michigan Farm Bureau in Lansing in a new classroom with state-of-the-art technology. Upon completion of the program, opportunities are available at Farm Bureau, Accident Fund, State Farm and MEEMIC insurance companies. Eight of 17 students who completed the program in 2012-2013 got jobs with Farm Bureau.