Alpena-area schools talk talent with state

News Photo by Julie Goldberg Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development Director Roger Curtis speaks to business, K-12, and higher education leaders at the Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District on Tuesday about the state’s Marshall Plan for Talent.

ALPENA — Local educators were at the Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District Tuesday to give feedback to the Michigan Department of Education about the state’s new Marshall Plan for Talent.

The workshop was one in a series being held around the state to inform educators about the Marshall Plan. Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development Director Roger Curtis was in attendance Tuesday to receive feedback to take back with him.

Curtis said they invited educators from every level, which include K-12 educators, members of ISDs, post-secondary partners like Alpena Community College, and training centers, to give him feedback about the plan, which he’ll take back to other state government leaders.

Curtis said a big part of gathering talent is that employers want people who have talents required for a job. He said employers should be specific with what exactly they need, like skills, credentials, certifications, and abilities.

The most fundamental piece of the Marshall Plan is bringing businesses and education leaders together to start conversations, Curtis said. He said getting businesses and education leaders to come together to talk about the opportunities to prepare students and adults is important for the plan.

“It’s going to include multiple education partners and multiple businesses and they’re going to identify opportunities to not just support kids, but maybe there will even be opportunities for adults to come in and take those classes,” Curtis said. “That would be ideal.”

Curtis received feedback from around 30 businesses and K-12 and higher education leaders from around the area on Tuesday and said the feedback is going to be shared with MDE teams for a state grant for local school districts to develop talent programs.

“We’re in the process of writing the grant criteria now. This is not a traditional Department of Education grant for a school to apply for,” he said. “It is a talent consortium that’s going to apply for the grant and we want to make sure the demands side and the supply side are talking and they come up with a mutually agreed upon solution for their problem that they identify for whatever the talent need is.”

The workshops around the state give Curtis the opportunity to receive feedback before the grants are awarded.

“We want this to be very successful so we want to have that feedback opportunity with them ahead of time before they actually submit the formal grant,” he said.

Curtis said the grants and funding are going to be awarded in the winter.

AMA ESD Superintendent Scott Reynolds said having Curtis receive feedback was a tremendous opportunity for everyone.

“I thought it was very successful to hear from Mr. Curtis talking about what legislation has done to support the Marshall Plan,” Reynolds said. “This is an exciting beginning.”

Julie Goldberg can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5688.