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Education Policy Fellowship Program

21st Century Skills: A Michigan Perspective

January 21, 2008
12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Kellogg Center, MSU

This learning session will focus on the skills that are needed in the workplace today and tomorrow and explore strategies in the school and community to develop these skills. Fellows will learn what employers believe are the essential skills needed in the workplace; possible strategies for utilizing technology in the classroom and in the community to impart needed workplace skills and will gain an increased understanding of the barriers facing students from low-income families in terms of development of theses skills. The session will begin with an interactive activity in which fellows identify their own beliefs regarding workplace skills and share these views with each other in a structured process designed to develop a collective sense of the beliefs of the group as a foundation for further learning on this topic. Presentations by Doug Stites, director of the Capital Area Michigan Works agency and Michael Flowers, Diversity Directory for Human Resources at Sparrow Regional Health Center will discuss the skills most needed from a regional employer point of view. Dr. Stein Brunvand, University of Michigan, will address technology skill needs from the perspective of a postsecondary institution. Finally, Dr. Linda Jackson, Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University will share perspectives from her work with low-income families and describe needs and barriers to providing access to technology and resources to youth from low-income families. The session will close with an informal discussion of the implications from the session for future policy directions.


Learning Team Members

Ricki Chowning, Executive Director, Regional Educational Media Center Association of Michigan
Jeffrey Dole, Associate Principal, Capital Area Career Center, Ingham ISD
Cynthia M. Heath, Supervisor, Division of Technology & Information Systems, Detroit Public Schools
Jill Kroll, Education Research Consultant, Office of Career & Technical Education, Michigan Department of Education

Learning Objectives/Outcomes

1. Participants will develop an awareness of what they collectively believe to be the skills needed in the 21st century workplace as a foundation for further learning on this topic.
2. Participants will gain perspective regarding what employers believe are the essential skills needed in the workplace.
3. Participants will learn more about the postsecondary perspective on 21st century workplace skills.
4. Participants will become aware of resources to assist them in applying these perspectives in their work place.
5. Participants will become aware of an innovative approach to allow students to apply 21st century skills through a business/school district internship program.


1:00: Introduction Video: “I will steal your car”

Affinity Diagram activity

“Regional Skill Deficit”
Speaker: Doug Stites, Chief Executive Officer
Capital Area Michigan Works

2:05: Break

2:15 “Employer perspective: Skills & Diversity in the workplace
Speaker: Michael Flowers, Director of Workplace Diversity
Sparrow Regional Health Center

“A vision of students today” video

Skills needed for Pre-service teacher and students coming in to college
Speaker: Dr. Stein Brunvand, Assistant Professor of Educational Technology
University of Michigan-Dearborn

3:40 Break

3:50 Resources and Tools for 21st Century Skills

Video: “2 Million Minutes”

Policies as they relate to 21st century skills: What is going on in schools?
21st Century Skills: Reaching economically disadvantaged youth
Speaker: Dr. Linda Jackson
Professor, Department of Psychology
Michigan State University

Where do we go from here?

5:00 Adjourn

Program Resources

Doug Stites, CEO, Capital Area Michigan Works!
Douglas E. Stites, a graduate of Central Michigan University, is the Chief Executive Officer of Capital Area Michigan Works!, one of 25 Michigan Works! Agencies throughout the state. Capital Area Michigan Works! Administers federally and state funded dollars to assist employers in the recruitment, training and assessment of employees and provide workforce development services for the general public in Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties through programs, classes and its service centers in Lansing, Charlotte and St. Johns. Capital Area Michigan works! is recognized nationwide as a model workforce development agency. Capital Area Michigan Works! is focused on economic development of the Lansing region and filling the workforce needs of tri-county employers. It is actively involved in educational collaborations to assist students in career development. On the web at Stites began his career in the Eastern Upper Peninsula Employment and Training consortium. In 1991, Stites was appointed executive assistant in the Governor’s Office for Job Training under Governor John Engler. Stites served as COO of the Michigan Jobs Commission, committed to retaining and expanding Michigan businesses, preparing workers for jobs and improving Michigan’s business climate. Prior to joining Capital Area Michigan Works!, Stites served as acting director of the Michigan Department of Career Development, currently the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth. Stites was instrumental in bringing Michigan’s workforce development system to national recognition.

Michael E. Flowers, Director of Employment and Diversity for Sparrow Health System, Lansing, MI.
Michael Flowers is currently director of employment and diversity for Sparrow Health System. He is president of the Capital Healthcare and Employment Council (CHEC), and Past President and current Advisory Board Member for the Mid-Michigan Chapter of Labor & Employment Relations Association (LERA) and President of the Board of Directors for Peckham Industries, Inc. He also serves on the Advisory Boards for the Westside YMCA of Metropolitan Lansing, MI, the North West Initiative (NWI) of Lansing, MI and the Greater Lansing Housing Coalition. Flowers is an Adjunct Professor at Lansing Community College (LCC), and has guest lectured at Michigan State University, Olivet College, and Central Michigan University. Flowers has a Masters Degree from Michigan State University in Human Resources and Labor Relations (MHRLR). A Bachelors of Business Administration Degree from Northwood University (BBA) and the designation of Professional in Human Resource management (PHR). He is a native of Lansing, MI., he’s married to Pamela Flowers, and has three daughters, Raven, Brianna and Hayle.

Dr. Stein Brunvand, University of Michigan.
Dr. Stein Brunvand is an Assistant Professor of Educational Technology at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He teaches courses in educational technology to pre-service teachers and is interested in effective strategies for integrating technology into all aspects of learning. He has conducted professional development workshops on a range of topics including digital video, podcasting, WebQuests, blogging, website design/creation, Web 2.0 tools and technology integration. Prior to becoming a professor Stein taught elementary school for 6 years at both the third and fifth grade levels.

Dr. Linda A. Jackson, Professor, Department of Psychology, Michigan State University
Dr. Jackson is currently a professor in the Department of Psychology and adjunct professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Michigan State University. She is a research associate with the Media Interface and Networking Design (M.I.N.D.) Laboratory, also at Michigan State University. She is the principal investigator on research projects funded by the National Science Foundation to examine Internet use in the homes of low-income families ( and the nature and extent of children’s use of Information Technology (IT), and how using IT effects children’s cognitive, social, psychological and moral development ( She is co-investigator with the Science of Learning Center (SLC) for the Humanities and Social Sciences ( Dr. Jackson has published extensively, most recently on the topics of children and adolescents and the internet, race, gender and information technology: The new digital divide, and the impact of internet use on academic performance. Dr. Jackson received her Ph.D. in Psychology in 1981, with a major in Social Psychology, from University of Rochester, Rochester, New York. She has a Master of Arts in Teaching and Science Education from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and a Bachelor’s degree in Genetics/Microbiology.

Reflection Questions

How did your views of what skills are needed in the 21st century change as a result of the presentations?

How did the presentations influence your views about what is needed for Michigan to remain competitive in the global economy?

What one thing do you think Michigan is doing right to prepare students for the skills they need?

What one change do you think would be most beneficial for Michigan to improve the preparation of students for success in the global economy?

What one new piece of information did you learn that you think is especially relevant to Michigan education policy?

What will you change in your work or personal life as a result of what you learned today?

What questions are still unanswered?


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