Teacher Pathway Program
New Teacher Pathway - Talent Together
Talent Together is a consortium of 39 Intermediate School Districts (ISDs), including Bay-Arenac ISD, that have formed an innovative partnership to address the teacher shortage crisis in Michigan. Dubbed "Talent Together", the partnership includes districts spanning 63 counties—from the Upper Peninsula to Southeast Michigan—that collectively serve over 1,019,000 students. To date, this is the largest education collaboration of its kind in state history.
The partnership will include pathways for aspiring teachers of all education levels, including those who do not yet have a bachelor’s degree. Focused on teacher quality, this innovative model will also make use of apprenticeships, a way to develop educators that is newly recognized by the United States Department of Labor. Program fellows who are seeking certification will be required to meet federal apprenticeship guidelines, which means at least one year of “practice” in classrooms and fully paid at a competitive wage. Talent Together will identify pathways for each of these certifications. On Dec. 1, the consortium launched a request for proposal (RFP) asking Michigan colleges and universities to offer proposals that would meet the partnership’s needs.
Talent Together will identify pathways for each of these certifications. On Dec. 1, the consortium launched a request for proposal (RFP) asking Michigan colleges and universities to offer proposals that would meet the partnership’s needs. In this RFP, Talent Together has spelled out a set of principles they are committed to achieving. These include:
- Quality. We are committed to setting high standards for teacher preparation, the candidate experience, and the inner workings of the partnership between the consortium, local districts, universities, and supporting organizations.
- Affordability. We are committed to eliminating the financial barriers to becoming a teacher. Aspiring teachers should be certified for free while being paid to do so
- Address Critical Vacancies: We are looking for our university partners to provide cost-effective bachelor’s degrees and certification opportunities for high-needs certification areas including secondary math, secondary science, and elementary education (birth to kindergarten, PK - 3 and 3-6). We may also consider partnerships with universities that offer special education programs.
- Improved Preparation: We are committed to eliminating the concept of a first-year teacher. We must ensure classrooms receive teachers who are prepared to teach through extensive, authentic field-based experiences.
- Apprenticeship: Better preparation will result from leveraging the apprenticeship model. Our goal is for every one of our teacher pathways to be an approved registered apprenticeship with the USDOL.
- Diversity: We must improve educator diversity in our state and move toward a teacher population that more accurately reflects students in the communities we serve.
- Serve Rural, Urban, and Suburban Schools: Our children attend school in all parts of our state, from the Upper Peninsula to Detroit. We will ensure our teachers are well-prepared for their specific context.
The Talent Together consortium has been working together since early summer 2022 but began to pick up steam as the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced an upcoming Grow Your Own grant based on the legislature’s allocation of $175M for that purpose. The group has been working with education talent experts at the Michigan Educator Workforce Initiative, to design the innovative program.
Talent Together believes this program will produce hundreds more teachers in the next five years. The program is being built for sustainability, so that even when initial Grow Your Own grant dollars are exhausted, Talent Together can continue to provide opportunities for interested candidates to become teachers.
The program plans to welcome its first cohort of teacher candidates in the fall of 2023. We expect the application process to begin no sooner than spring 2023.