Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to do to apply for funds?

First, you need to create a Talent Consortium. This is a requirement to apply for most funds. A Talent Consortium is at least one school district or intermediate school district (ISD) and two employers. Note:  A smaller, rural district may apply without partnering with other schools and only require one business partner as defined by statute. Remember: You’re not bound by location, size or type of education and business partners, other than the required minimums.

Then you need to write a Talent Agreement* that describes the partnership between members of the Talent Consortium. This includes identifying the high-demand, high-wage fields that student will be prepared in.

It is important to note anyone can write and administer the grant on behalf of the Consortium. While a K-12 school district or ISD must be the submitter, completing the application does not solely lie with K-12 – all Talent Consortium members should play an active role in the process.

*A detailed description of what is required in a Marshall Plan Talent Agreement is coming soon

Who convenes a Talent Consortium?

A Talent Consortium can be convened by anyone who has a stake in education or talent development in Michigan, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Employer
  • Industry association
  • Economic development association
  • Michigan Works!
  • K-12 school or district
  • Trade school
  • Community college
  • Four-year institution
  • Non-profit organization
  • Career and Education Advisory Councils
  • MiSTEM Networks

Looking to convene a Talent Consortium and don’t know where to start? The Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) can help. Send an email to marshallplan@michigan.gov.

Who can be a member of a Talent Consortium?

A Talent Consortium must include a minimum of one K-12 district or intermediate school district (ISD) and at least two employers or organizations representing employers. However, smaller school districts with less than 1,400 pupils are only required to have one employer or organization representing employers in its Consortium.

A Talent Consortium may also include community colleges, public universities, private non-profit colleges, private training providers that grant degrees or certifications; community organizations; Michigan Works!; MiSTEM councils; non-profits and foundations; and other organizations who have a stake in education and talent development

What does a Talent Consortium do?

A Talent Consortium works together to create innovative, competency-based experiences for students to prepare them for high-demand, high-wage careers. Consortium members must sign a Talent Agreement that specifically lays out:

  • Defined and specific talent need or gap for employers. The gap identified must encompass a regional approach and need and must show an impactful outcome. 
  • Detailed education and training solution and plan on how to meet that need or close that gap - grants to be awarded for projects that can demonstrate the capacity to impact many students or a large percentage of the students attending the participating districts. 
  • Specifics on the role of what each partner in the Talent Consortium will play on that solution.
  • List of resources each partner needs or will provide to the Talent Consortium.

See our Marshall Plan 101 document for a sample Talent Agreement. A detailed description of what is required in a Marshall Plan Talent Agreement is coming soon.

Are private schools eligible to be part of a Talent Consortium?

Yes. While the law requires a public school district or ISD for the funding formula, there is nothing precluding a private school from joining a Talent Consortium.

Does the Talent Consortium have to write and administer the grant?

No. Anyone can write or administer the grant on behalf of the Talent Consortium.

How do the tiers for funding work? Is there a maximum amount of grant dollars that a talent consortium may apply for?

Marshall Plan funds will be awarded based on the level of innovation, the strength of the partnerships, how well the application utilizes the philosophies of the competency-based learning instructional model and whether the project demonstrates the capacity to impact many students or a large percentage of the students attending the participating districts. 

Under the Plan, there is nearly $59 million in innovative grants available to districts and ISDs to create or expand competency-based education programs, purchase equipment and hire career navigators. Each consortium is limited to the following grant caps based on the participating school or ISD:

  • Tier 1 Consortium = A district with a pupil membership of at least 3,800
    • Max grant = $500,000 total per school/ISD
  • Tier 2 Consortium = A district with a pupil membership of at least 1,400 and less than 3,800
    • Max grant = $300,000 total per school
  • Tier 3 Consortium = A district with a pupil membership of less than 1,400
    • Max grant = $200,000 total per school

If a Tier 1 or Tier 2 Consortium partners with other schools or an ISD as part of a Talent Consortium, the funding cap would be based on the total combined per pupil count and the Talent Consortium would then be eligible for that higher tier amount.

For example, if a Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 were to form under one Talent Consortium with the required business partners and other suggested community members, the Talent Consortium could apply for a total funding request of $1.5 million as part of the innovation grant application. The result would be each Consortium would be eligible for $500,000 at the Tier 1 rate.

What is the window to apply for grants?

Now that the Marshall Plan for Talent has been enacted, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and the Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan (Ted) are diligently working to develop the grant application criteria and will roll out the first of several application periods starting in mid-August 2018.

The Marshall Plan for Talent is a five-year work project, which means funds will be available through 2022. However, 50 percent of the innovation grant must be awarded by June 2019, and all grant-funded projects must complete work by Sept. 30, 2022.

What might be included in the grant application?  

The legislation requires that the application for the innovation grant must focus on programs based on competency and courses that lead to credentials in high-demand, high-wage fields for students. Programs can include career and technical education programs as well as other general education courses.  However, applicants should refer to the Marshall Plan statute, which details the required Talent Agreement and provides guidance for how MDE and Ted will score grant applications.Top 10 in 10 - The Michigan Department of Education’s strategic plan is focused on ensuring all students have access to high-quality educational opportunities supporting all career choices.

What are the grant metrics?

The details of the grant requirements are still being developed by the Michigan Department of Education and the Talent and Economic Development Department. It is anticipated there will be an application process and metrics outlined by mid-August 2018. However, applicants should refer to the Marshall Plan statute, which provides guidance for how MDE and Ted will score grants. This guidance includes:

  • Having a strong partnership between members of a Talent Consortium as described in the Talent Agreement and address a specific high-demand, high-wage talent shortage. Everyone must change the way they do business to make this work, so we want to see partners truly collaborate to provide innovative experiences for students.
  • Adopting the philosophies of competency-based learning. The instructional model of the past will no longer work. The Marshall Plan seeks to move Michigan to a more competency-based approach to learning.
  • How the partners work together to create a seamless education system – from K-12 through postsecondary and into the workplace – that leads to a stackable workforce credential in a high-demand field.
Are there best practices or examples that can be used for reference?

Yes – and you don’t have to take our word for it.

Several schools and businesses are already working together and have built models that provide students with in-demand skills and a path forward to successful careers. And these businesses will have homegrown and well-trained employees that they nurture to success. See our examples starting on page 11 of the Marshall Plan 101 handbook.

Will the grants require demonstration of equity for all students and how?

The details of the grant requirements are still being developed by the Michigan Department of Education and the Talent and Economic Development Department. It is anticipated the application will require demonstration of equity in opportunities for all students to have access to the competency-based curriculum, equipment, innovative teachers or career coaching staff hired with the funds.

Is there money set aside just for rural or low-income schools?

To ensure Marshall Plan funds are equitably awarded, the nearly $59 million in innovation grants is broken into three tiers:

  • Tier 1 Consortium – 50 percent of funds to districts with a per pupil membership of at least 3,800
  • Tier 2 Consortium – 30 percent of funds to districts with a per pupil membership of at least 1,400, but less than 3,800
  • Tier 3 Consortium – 20 percent of funds to districts with a per pupil membership of less than 1,400
How can a small school with declining enrollment compete with a larger school?  

It’s not about competition, it’s about innovation and partnerships. Smaller districts can collaborate with larger districts in a Talent Consortium. By doing so, the schools would be eligible for more funding as well as having support from the partners of the required Talent Consortium. 

Can the funding only be used by a K-12 school or ISD?

While the school or ISD must be the fiduciary for the grant application, funding awarded to the consortium can flow to any of the entities in the Talent Consortium, including postsecondary education or training partners for purposes outlined in the Talent Agreement.

How the money will be distributed among the Talent Consortium partners must be agreed upon by the Talent Consortium members.

Can the same entity submit more than one grant proposal?

No, we will only accept one proposal per talent consortia. However, if your district or ISD is part of a consortia, one application per the consortia and one for the district or ISD is allowable. We would strongly encourage your district or ISD to focus on one grant application and not participate in both a consortia and separate application. 

While Talent Consortia may only submit one proposal for the first round of funding, a Talent Consortium previously granted funding may add other school districts or ISDs to be part of the Consortium. Additionally, those not awarded from the first round of funding may amend the original application and resubmit for additional consideration.

Are there matching funds required for the innovation grants?

To be eligible for the equipment grant, there is a requirement of at least 25 percent in matching funds, which may be in-kind donations.  No other matching funds are required. However, the quality of grants will be partly determined on the strength of the partnership described in the Talent Agreement. One way to show a strong partnership is by leveraging matching funds from other partners.

What types of credential and/or certification programs qualify for Marshall Plan funds?

The Marshall Plan for Talent is focused on helping Michiganders gain in-demand skills for high-demand, high-wage careers in information technology and computer science, manufacturing, healthcare and other business and Professional Trades.

While there are many certification programs and credentials that would qualify for funding, it is up to the Talent Consortium to identify those credentials or certificates that best prepare students for the Consortium’s specific talent needs. Keep in mind, programs must lead to a high-demand, high wage fields as outlined in the Marshall Plan’s Top Career list.

Who qualifies as a career navigator - who defines - is this regulated by MDE?  

The grant is very open as to how the career counseling services are provided. If services are not being delivered by a licensed school counselor, the individuals providing career counseling and navigation should work in coordination with or under the guidance of the licensed school counselor.

The statute asks that schools “adopt the philosophies of competency-based learning.” What does that mean?

In the context of the Marshall Plan, Talent Consortia that receive dollars must utilize a competency-based approach in the experiences they create. The philosophies of a competency-based approach include:

  • Whether or not the student is able to move on to more advanced material as soon as they master the existing material. Contrast this with the current system where students must wait for the rest of the class or get left behind because they need more time.
  • How much time students spend on student interest-driven, project-based learning as opposed to a traditional stand-and-deliver instructional model.
  • How the programs utilize the flexibilities of the MMC and incorporate multiple subject areas (e.g. geometry and construction, English and health care, algebra and manufacturing) as well as 21st century skills like leadership, critical thinking, teamwork, and communication.
  • Whether or not the programs include opportunities for real-world learning, such as working on real-world problems with employers or completing an internship or other work-based learning opportunities. This allows students to understand that the material they learn in the classroom is relevant to succeeding in a career.
  • How the programs include multiple methods of assessing whether a student is competent. These methods could include public presentations, attaining a workforce credential, or mentoring other pupils.
  • How the programs utilize the flexibilities of the MMC and incorporate multiple subject areas (e.g. geometry and construction, English and healthcare, algebra and manufacturing) as well as 21st century skills, including leadership, critical thinking, teamwork and communication.
Will schools be able to use other programs developed by Talent Consortia around the state?

Yes. All programs created with Marshall Plan grants will be open sourced and accessible by educators and schools around the state to replicate successful program in their own areas.

What’s in it for employers?

Businesses are the key to this plan! The No. 1 need of business is talent. The Marshall Plan for Talent is designed to get Michigan businesses talented employees who are trained and ready to go. We need to know what your current talent gaps are and what they will be in the future.

The Marshall Plan for Talent ensures businesses have a seat at the table to make certain education programs meet the needs and demand of a rapidly transforming 21st century global economy. Our talent supply needs to meet employer demands – today and in the future.

There will be more than 811,000 career openings across the state though 2024. The Marshall Plan for Talent must fill those openings with in-demand talent employers are actively seeking.

The Marshall Plan for Talent also encourages employers to create a hiring agreement, outlining their intention to hire students who have completed programs that the Talent Consortium has developed. Employers will enjoy lower turnover rates because employees hired through these agreements will have a vested stake in the company who invested in them.

The Talent Consortium also engages educators and those who influence students to increase awareness of great careers in information technology and computer science, healthcare, manufacturing and other business and Professional Trades, getting students interested in career opportunities in your industry.

What’s in it for K-12?

The plan will provide $59 million in additional funding to support educators who want to create or expand innovative, competency-based programs for students to prepare them for high-demand careers and lifelong learning.

The plan also helps K-12 partner with businesses. Businesses can help schools market programs to parents, provide experiences for both students and teachers and offer resources to support the activities of a Talent Consortium.

We know schools need resources and flexibility, both financial and technical, to create and expand innovative programs. The Marshall Plan for Talent is designed to connect schools with those resources through a variety of ways, including state technical assistance, grants and matching funds from employers.

It also helps innovative schools move toward a more competency-based model and highlights their successes with schools around the state to spur more innovation.

What’s in it for postsecondary education?

The Marshall Plan for Talent will increase graduation rates by helping students figure out what they want to do – and don’t want to do – prior to graduating high school. The plan also encourages more work-based learning opportunities to help students map their future. That means, when students enter a two- or four-year degree program, they will have a better idea of what career they want to pursue and the pathway to it.

In addition, by creating more pathways to postsecondary education, students will be more interested and able to continue building on their skills. This means that colleges and universities will be able to expand their enrollment pipeline deeper into K-12 schools.

The plan also provides postsecondary institutions with multiple touchpoints in a person’s lifetime. As technology continues to rapidly transform the workplace, lifelong learning will be essential in keeping up with the changing demands of a 21st century global economy.

Michigan’s universities, colleges and community colleges will have an opportunity to play a key role in upskilling employees with stackable credentials.

Postsecondary institutions leading the way in innovative programs also have an opportunity to increase enrollment. The Marshall Plan provides $25.5 million in scholarships and related funds to support individuals seeking postsecondary certificates in high-demand, high-wage careers. The plan will also better connect businesses with postsecondary institutions to create a talent development system and those institutions with in-demand programs would likely see an increase in enrollment because students know when they graduate from the program they will be prepared for the career path they have chosen.