Allegan County News & Union Enterprise News

Talent Together provides teaching opportunities

By Jason Wesseldyk
Sports Editor

After graduating from Otsego High School in 2017, Brooke Galloway earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from Central Michigan University and joined the workforce.
A few years later, though, she began questioning her career path and started doing some substitute teaching. She quickly realized that teaching was her true passion.
That’s when, through a friend, Galloway found Talent Together, a statewide initiative that helps Michiganders earn their teaching degree/certificate for free while earning an income.
And as a partner district with Talent Together, Otsego Public Schools is trying to help others like Galloway who are interested in becoming a teacher.
OPS superintendent Jeff Haase is hosting an informational community meeting about Talent Together on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the Dix Street Elementary School media center. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.
“We see this benefiting districts by providing another pipeline to the teaching field,” Haase said. “Talent Together removes barriers to the teaching profession by providing financial support, proximity to post-secondary education, guidance and support.”
Talent Together is a partnership between 48 Intermediate School Districts in Michigan, the Michigan Educator Workforce Initiative (a state non-profit dedicated to eliminating the educator shortage in Michigan) and nine Michigan colleges and universities.
Those accepted into the program complete coursework at a school matched for them at no cost. They receive on-the-job training while earning their degree as well as an income and benefits.
“This is a great program for local districts as some of our future educators are working in our buildings,” said Haase.
This program is geared toward the following individuals: those who have a bachelor’s degree in something other than education and may be looking to change careers and/or are subbing in the district; paraprofessionals looking to become a certified teacher; and an existing educator who would like to attain another certification.
“Our building administrators see the great work these individuals are doing in our buildings but don’t have the correct certification to be a teacher of record,” Haase said.
Galloway, OPS’s first apprentice teacher through Talent Together, fit into the first of those categories.
After going through the application process with Talent Together, Galloway was able to get connected back to OPS. She was matched with Davenport University and takes classes online while co-teaching daily in Andrea Beall’s kindergarten classroom at Dix Street Elementary for the 2023-24 school year.
Galloway said the experience couldn’t have been a better one.
“I learn theory in my classroom as a college student, then I come to work every day and get to apply it which is really cool,” said Galloway. “It’s been really too good to be true.
“I get to come to work and do what I love—to teach—and get paid a livable wage to learn how to be a teacher in a way that is so less intimidating than a traditional student. I get a full year, beginning to end, and get to watch how students grow, build relationships and do all these things. Then next year I’ll be so much better prepared.”
Apprentice teachers receive 80 percent of a starting teacher’s salary plus benefits. Talent Together reimburses the district for that cost.
Talent Together teachers must commit to teaching in their host school or district for at least five years after earning their certification.
If you’re interested in learning more about Talent Together, Haase invites you to come to the meeting on Oct. 18.
“I hope we have a packed house on Oct. 18 as there is a tremendous need to fill the teacher shortage in Michigan,” Haase said. “Talent Together is taking applications soon for the 2024 cohort, so this would be a great opportunity to learn more.”
The first step is to submit an interest form. Those forms and much more information can be found at the Talent Together website at https://mitalenttogether.org/.

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