Skip to main content

Future Proud Michigan Educator LAUNCH Program Recognized by U.S. Department of Education

LANSING – A Michigan program that is attracting high school students interested in careers in education or other professions that help children is being showcased by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Future Proud Michigan Educator LAUNCH program has been included on the  federal Best Practices Clearinghouse. The clearinghouse stores information and interactive resources that are filmed and placed in a virtual library that shares best practices across the country to aid in classroom recovery efforts following the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Michigan’s Future Proud Michigan Educator LAUNCH program is one of three initiatives chosen from over 50 submissions through the U.S. Department of Education Comprehensive Center Network.

“The Future Proud Michigan Educator LAUNCH program supports Goal 6 in Michigan’s Top 10 Strategic Education Plan, which is to increase the percentage of adults with a post-secondary credential,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael F. Rice. “It also contributes to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 60 by 30 initiative. The Future Proud Michigan LAUNCH program is a key part of our efforts to grow and diversify our state’s educator workforce and reduce educator shortages.”

The MDE and Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP) continue to expand educational opportunities through the initiative.”

“The Future Proud Michigan Educator LAUNCH program helps us achieve multiple goals at once. It puts more Michiganders on a path to prosperity and responds to critical staffing needs in sectors like early education and care and youth development,” said MiLEAP Acting Director Michelle Richard. “We are proud to partner with MDE and the career technical education field to continue expanding opportunities and making Michigan the best place to live, work, play, learn, and grow.”

Students in the program can earn a Child Development Associate credential or a Michigan Youth Development Associate credential. Students take specialized coursework, develop professional portfolios, and participate in practical field and clinical experiences. This coursework leads to college credit opportunities and accelerates the college experience and finding a job.

“This partnership provides high school students with a training opportunity to earn an industry credential that addresses Michigan’s early childhood education worker pipeline needs,” said State Director Brian Pyles of the MDE Office of Career and Technical Education.

The earned industry-recognized credentials allow students to receive a higher wage upon graduation, attain college credits, and contribute to strengthening the workforce to increase the number of qualified early childhood and out-of-school time workers.

"Students benefit by graduating high school job-ready with a nationally recognized Child Development Associate credential and can jumpstart their higher education with core knowledge of child development,” said Monique Soper, an instructor at the Sanilac Intermediate School District. “They will have the understanding, skills, and confidence to work with young children, which is what early childhood employers want.”

The Career and Technical Education—Education General program prepares high school students to become teachers. This program has grown significantly since the creation of Future Proud Michigan Educator LAUNCH in the 2019-20 school year. Michigan has seen the number of programs grow by more than 138% – from 55 to 131 – since the creation of the program in the 2019-20 school year, allowing for state-wide access to the courses. More than 3,000 students enrolled in the program in the 2022-23 school year and credential attainment has doubled from 42 in 2021-22 to 84 in 2022-23.

“Earning a Child Development associate in high school has benefited me in that I can get a job in the child care field when I graduate and helps me earn credit toward my bachelor’s degree when I attend college,” said Ava Wilson, high school senior in the Sanilac Intermediate School District.

High school students interested in working with children or pursuing a career in education should talk to their school counselor.