Detroit PBS Names Four Members to Board of Trustees

Detroit PBS Seeks to Close Michigan’s Talent Gap Beginning with a $500,000 Investment from GM

The Future of Work initiative will engage business leaders, students, and their families with career-planning information

General Motors and Detroit PBS are proud to announce a new collaboration to bridge the talent gap and diversify Michigan’s education and workforce pipeline. The initiative addresses the future of Michigan’s workforce through a comprehensive, two-track approach, launching on the statewide Michigan Learning Channel and Detroit PBS local One Detroit platforms.

General Motors has provided a $500,000 grant to support the initiative, which will utilize Detroit PBS’s online, television, and community resources to bring the vision for the Future of Michigan’s workforce to life with funding to:

  • Convene an ongoing dialogue with an array of stakeholders to deeply understand workforce and talent issues, needs, and gaps
  • Collect existing resources and create new tools for students, teachers, and parents to explore careers and build essential skills needed for success in the workplace
  • Create a digital destination for trusted and vetted career information, tools, and resources from education and industry leaders with easy, free access for all

Both General Motors and Detroit PBS recognize that the nature of work in Michigan and across the country is changing rapidly. While corporations have been sounding alarm bells for years about a shortage of skilled workers, the state’s ability to retain, attract, and train qualified job candidates remains an enormous challenge. With approximately 600,000 job openings forecasted in Michigan by 2026, the region’s continued growth and prosperity will depend heavily on having a skilled, high-quality workforce.

Detroit PBS envisions the Future of Work initiative as an important partner with schools, businesses, and the community to address workforce development needs. Building on the platform and success of the Michigan Learning Channel (MLC), Detroit PBS can provide students, teachers, and families with curriculum-aligned supplemental tools and resources to explore, select, and prepare for a career path. Through broadcast, digital distribution, on-demand resources, and engagement, Detroit PBS can immediately reach a statewide broadcast audience of 500,000 viewers, more than 9,000 teachers, and online users per month.

“GM’s generosity lays the foundation for this vitally important work, and we look forward to attracting additional partners and funders to help accelerate the initiative’s expansion and impact on Michigan’s students, parents, educators, and employers while strengthening the overall economic development of our city, region, and state,” said Detroit PBS President and CEO Rich Homberg.

“To help support a strong workforce and develop talent in Michigan, we need to lay the groundwork now by connecting students, parents, teachers, and families to resources and tools that can help build skills and prepare for future careers,” said Terry Rhadigan, vice president of Corporate Giving at GM.

“General Motors is proud to work with Detroit PBS, and we encourage other companies looking to make an impact to join us in supporting the Future of Work initiative.”

Detroit PBS’s initiative features two distinct, inter-connected tracks:

Future of Work on the Michigan Learning Channel – A “Cradle to Career” initiative that provides students, teachers, and parents with age-appropriate, curriculum-based, standards-aligned, multi-platform educational content, programming, and experiences to prepare every young person in Michigan for a viable career pathway and successful future.

Future of Work on One Detroit – Through stories, town hall conversations, and live event coverage, One Detroit will engage with business leaders, employers, educators, and government organizations. Coverage will focus on the most pressing issues and promising solutions to expand the labor pool and build candidates who can meet the workforce challenges facing Detroit and Southeast Michigan.

“General Motors’ incredible support reflects a shared vision of continuing to build a strong network of expert partners as we bring solutions to the workforce challenges in Detroit and across Michigan,” added Homberg. “The future of Michigan’s workforce will help every Michigan student explore and prepare for the right post-secondary option for each individual and provide a pipeline of talent ready to fill Michigan’s workforce needs.”

The state needs to look inward to grow talent for the future. Students are receiving too little support for career exploration, preparation, and workplace learning experiences. A recent national survey by EdWeek revealed that only 16% of teachers felt that their school provided a curriculum for students that met employer needs. Parents try to help but often lack the knowledge and resources to help their children chart pathways to successful futures.

In April, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2022 “State of Education” report documented drops in both university and community college enrollment, with higher dropout rates related to the pandemic. Enrollment dropped 10% among students from low-income high schools. The report stated educational attainment and equity gaps are holding back the region’s prosperity. Data like this fuels the Detroit PBS mission to use its platforms to address the state’s ongoing challenges with education.


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