Category: Community - Original Written by Donald James
Continuing to recognize the importance of improving pre-K education as an essential first step in building a stronger foundation for advancing Detroit Public Schools (DPS) students, PNC Foundation, through The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., recently funded the school district with an additional sum of $950,000. The funding is earmarked for the continuation of the Grow Up Great initiative, a preschool program created to enhance arts and science branches of learning amid early childhood education students.
The funds will allow the initiative to be extended for two additional years and expand from 8 to 15 schools. The goal is also to double the number of students enrolled. Since the Grow Up Great began in 2010 with a $2.1 million investment by PNC, 28 DPS classrooms have been involved, with approximately 700 preschoolers participating in various learning activities. The extension of Grow Up Great will provide added educational enhancements, inclusive of professional developments sessions and individual coaching for teachers, field trips, classroom visits by arts and science staff, as well as new books and equipment.
Grow Up Great links such partners as the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, DPS, Cranbrook Institute of Science, Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, and Detroit Parent Network.
“Grow Up Great is a multifaceted program,” said Richard L. DeVore, PNC regional president, who also chairs the local PNC Foundation. “Music Hall for the Performing Arts provides the arts component for the children, while Cranbrook Institute provides the science part of the program.”
Based on findings by Open Minds, LLC, an independent evaluation organization, Grow Up Great has created positive changes in science and arts programming for DPS preschoolers, inclusive of posting scores for classroom environment learning that were 41 percent higher for arts and 13 percent higher for science than comparative classrooms. In addition, Open Minds found participating teachers’ average scores for the quality of classroom arts and science activities exceeded comparison teachers’ scores. Parents also felt the positive impact of the project as 85 percent of the participants’ families provided an example of a recent arts activity they completed at home with their child, while 60 percent provide an example of a science activity completed with their child.
The success of the program goes beyond the participation of preschoolers, teachers, parents, and initiative partners. DeVore points to PNC employees as a major contributing factor. “We give our employees up to 40 hours a year of paid time off for volunteering in the early childhood programs,” he said. “We have 95 percent of local PNC employees committing to Grow Up Great activities. So while making dollar grants are important, it’s also important to have employee participation.”
To put the company’s local employee participation in perspective, employees’ involvement in Detroit is higher than in the other 19 PNC national markets, including the District of Columbia. DeVore explained that Grow Up Great is implemented wherever PNC has a presence, and since its national inception in 2004, it has carried a $350 million investment price tag. The early education initiative through DPS has provided a model of success for other national PNC pre-K funded programs to emulate.
While DeVore remains busy as PNC regional president and chairs the local PNC Foundation, he makes time to lead by example as he volunteers each month to read to preschoolers at Schulze Elementary and Middle School on the city’s west side. “This is my third year reading,” said DeVore. “For me, it’s as good as it gets.”
For DeVore, the success of Grow Up Great is extremely gratifying as his ties to Detroit are both business and personal. “I am a Detroit native, and so is my wife,” he said. “I’ve worked for PNC in many other parts of the country, but I was thrilled to move back.”
DeVore said it’s fun to be back home and very gratifying to be an intricate part of Grow Up Great. He is excited to work with DPS and DPS feels the same way as the preschool initiative is in congruence with the school district’s five-year strategic plans for early childhood education. “Study after study have found that quality early childhood education pays dividends with improved academic success and graduation rates,” said Jack Martin, DPS emergency manager. “Quality pre-K programs help children learn to read before third grade. Grow Up Great is a critical element of our pre-K program, and we appreciate PNC for its continued commitment to the children of Detroit.”
DPS Foundation President Dr. Glenda Price agreed. “Arts and science are two of the priority areas for DPS Foundation support,” she said. “Therefore, we are especially pleased to be a partner in the Grow Up Great initiative, which fosters teacher development in these areas and in turn, provides an enhanced educational platform for future student growth.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 November 2013 17:03
Category: Community - Original Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
Location: McGregor Memorial Conference Center | Map
495 Ferry Mall
Detroit, MI 48202
The BizGrid is a physical infographic designed to help Detroit entrepreneurs navigate the landscape of organizations providing business assistance within Detroit. If you've ever needed help exploring Detroit's many resources, you'll love BizGrid Live! Download a BizGrid
On Tuesday, November 19, we'll bring the BizGrid to life! Meet representatives from the BizGrid organizations who provide resources and services ranging from business planning and strategy to real estate assistance, funding, co-working space, and more.
Thanks to the generous support of the New Economy Initiative, this FREE event is open to anyone with a passion or interest in business in Detroit. Have an idea? Come learn how to get it out of your head and into the market. Are you an entrepreneur ready to take the next step? Engage with your peers and meet the experts whose job is to help you succeed.
Follow along via Twitter @BizGrid and on event day with #BizGridLive
The event agenda includes four interactive breakout sessions to invigorate your entrepreneurial spirit and an open air market where you can engage the attending BizGrid organizations to learn how their services can help advance your business goals. A networking hour completes your day at BizGrid Live! and hopefully you'll leave with new contacts and heightened sense of services available to you and your business!
Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 October 2013 22:12
Category: Community - Original Written by Amber Bogins
As Congress consider additional and inflexible work requirements for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – formerly food stamps) recipients, anti-hunger advocates at the Center for Civil Justice (CCJ) worry that lawmakers are proposing new rules without considering who actually gets SNAP and why. According to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, 92 percent of recipients nationwide are children, the elderly, the disabled, or people who are already working. The overwhelming majority of SNAP recipients who can work, are working. People who voluntarily quit work are disqualified from benefits under current rules.
Advocates say the SNAP program has grown in recent years – not because people are avoiding work, but because the program and community partners are both doing a better job of reaching out to those who aren't earning enough to make ends meet. "SNAP is a very important supplement for working households and for social security benefits that are too low to pay for all household expenses," says CCJ's Executive Director Terri Stangl. "The program should not be attacked because it has been successful for finding and helping those who it was ended to help. It was intended to help those who – after paying housing, childcare and child support expenses – simply don't have enough money left each month to feed their families."
In Michigan, more than 50 percent of SNAP households with at least one working-age, non-disabled adult are receiving income from work. More than 80 percent worked in the year prior to or go back to work the year after receiving SNAP. The rates are even higher for families with children – more than 60 percent work while receiving SNAP and almost 90 percent work in the prior or subsequent year. SNAP helps both low-wage workers and those who are between jobs. A recent report by the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows the size of SNAP grows when jobs are scarce and shrinks somewhat after the job market improves. http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3996
Some GOP lawmakers have met to discuss how to downsize the program with one approach being a proposal by Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL) that would allow individual states to test new work requirements. During the debate over the combined farm bill that was eventually defeated, the House approved the Southerland amendment. A more far-reaching amendment that would have cut $3 billion a year from the program and imposed new work rules was rejected.
"It doesn't make sense for Congress to be spending a lot of taxpayer money creating and administering new work rules and the related red tape when most of the people on the program already are working, soon to return to work, or have shown themselves unable to work," says Stangl.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 12:27
Category: Community - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle
Blake’s Orchard & Cider Mill Teams With Gleaners to Fight Hunger in southeastern Michigan
Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan (Gleaners) and Blake Farms invite the public to join them for a fall festival celebration on September 14, 2013 from 10am – 6pm as proceeds from apples and cider will benefit Gleaners and their fight against hunger in southeastern Michigan.
Currently in southeastern Michigan, 1 in 5 people struggle with hunger, a rate that’s higher than the national average. September is “Hunger Action Month” and Gleaners is encouraging the community to help in the ongoing effort to end hunger. Blake Farms has had a positive relationship with Gleaners for over a decade and wanted to help because of their admiration for the non-profits efforts in increasing food access to struggling local communities.
“As a farm we understand the hardships of limited fresh food access. We're rewarded by Mother Nature's surplus in good years and humbled in the rough years of light harvests. We understand the current issues of fresh food scarcity and seek to share our surplus this year with hungry families in Metro Detroit,” said Andrew Blake. “For three generations, we've experienced sharing our farm with so many wonderful families and want to extend our hand to the families that may not have experienced the goodness of fresh Michigan harvests.”
Blake Farms opened in Armada, Michigan in 1945 and currently employs 300 people to accommodate the crowd of roughly 300,000 they see each season. Blake Farms has evolved since its opening into a family entertainment farm, including everything from orchards and a cider mill to a haunted house and several animated attractions,
17985 Armada Center Rd. Armada MI 48005
Last Updated on Friday, 13 September 2013 08:42
Category: Community - Original Written by Amber Bogins
Michigan Shifting Gears, an intensive career transition initiative sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, kicks off a new three-month session on Tuesday, September 24. Registration for the Fall 2013 session is open now through Friday, September 13.
"Michigan's economy is growing, with small businesses and entrepreneurs leading the way," said Michael Finney, President and CEO of the MEDC. "At the same time, many talented Michiganders are looking for new career opportunities. Michigan Shifting Gears provides participants with a roadmap to their next great job, and start-up companies with the skilled workers they need to continue to grow."
The program is designed to help experienced professionals, returning veterans, stay-at-home parents and others facing a career crossroads fine-tune their skills to fit the needs of small businesses and entrepreneurial start-ups. Launched in 2009 by Ann Arbor SPARK and Sensei Change Associates, Michigan Shifting Gears is a unique opportunity for seasoned professionals and other transitioning job seekers to learn how to put their talent and experience to work in an entrepreneurial environment.
Participants in Michigan Shifting Gears receive a professional career assessment and career coaching, attend eight days of workshops, participate in networking events, and take part in a three-day small business simulation. Students are paired with volunteer mentors from the entrepreneurial community who work one-on-one to review their resumes, provide career advice, and help with their career transition.
Each Michigan Shifting Gears participant also must complete an 80-hour pro bono internship with a small business. The internship provides valuable first-hand experience in a small business environment. In turn, Michigan Shifting Gears interns bring valuable skills and business expertise to their host companies.
Prior to registration, interested individuals are required to participate in an informational program overview and Q&A webinar where they will have the opportunity to ask questions about the program. Following completion of the overview, participants will receive a link to register for the program. Anyone interested in attending the Fall 2013 session must complete the informational overview and Q&A session, and register no later than Friday, September 13.
Early-Bird registration ($500) deadline: Midnight Monday, August 19
Discounted registration ($550) deadline: Midnight Tuesday, September 3
Final registration ($575) deadline: Midnight Friday, September 13 (deadline will NOT be extended)
Payment plans are available. MEDC underwrites the balance of the program cost to help the state retain and retool top talent to meet the needs of Michigan's small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Michigan Shifting Gears has an impressive rate of success, with 49 percent of graduates landing new jobs within three months of completing the program. Sixty-one percent of graduates land positions within six months, and 82 percent find work within nine or more months.
"Michigan is blessed with a talented workforce possessing skills and expertise we can't afford to lose," said Amy Cell, Senior Vice President for Talent Enhancement at MEDC. "Michigan Shifting Gears is one way we can help these transitioning professionals and at the same time provide employers with the top-notch talent they need to thrive and grow."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 12:06
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