Three Main Strands of EPFP
Strand 1: Public Policy Processes, Issues and Key Practitioners
This strand maps out the policy process in Michigan and focuses on some key issues or policy initiatives that are being heavily debated at the time. Examples are school finance reform, the transition process from one governor to another, employment and economic expansion issues, and government downsizing. This strand is specific to Michigan and gives Fellows a strong sense of how these issues are addressed in the public arena, by the media and how they connect with other policy issues. This strand also connects Fellows with leading public policy figures who hold offices or positions which are critical to the policymaking process. Speakers include elected officials, agency heads and staff, leaders from special interest or advocacy groups, academics, and other education, public policy and corporate leaders. Through interactions with these practitioners, fellows gain insight into the strategies these individuals use to move their issues or agendas, and the leadership qualities necessary to advance organizations and individuals toward their vision.
Strand 2: Leadership and Skill Development
This strand focuses on the development of those specific skills which are necessary for exercising effective leadership in the 21st Century. The Michigan EPFP explores techniques and skills related to planning, directing, and evaluating programs and policies. In addition, a priority has been placed on developing collaborative skills which have been identified as critical to success in today's policy environments. Fellows experience assessments to identify personal preferences and styles, simulations and experiential activities to examine how different styles and behaviors conflict with individual and organizational goals. Group discussions incorporate these skills into the Fellows work experience. The opportunity to involve nontraditional activities, such as social and cultural experiences in learning about conflict and methods of reducing problems in organizations, provide valuable lessons.
Strand 3: Networking
The EPFP offers exceptional opportunities for networking. Participants focus on making connections between current Fellows and their counterparts in one of the other 13 state sites. In addition, deliberate efforts are made to connect current Fellows with Michigan's alumni network. An annual Michigan alumni seminar or reception is held to help expand the Fellows circle of professional contacts. A national alumni network of over 5,600 extends this network to an impressive set of resources across the country. Through alumni activities and the two national conferences, attempts are made to initiate and sustain these connections. It is especially in this networking strand where social media is employed. Email, LinkedIn and Facebook are integral communication strategies of the Michigan program.