Career Navigation Solutions Summit Agenda

Monday, October 5
9:00am - 1:00pm 
Schoolcraft College’s VistaTech Center (map)




Cost of the event is $25 for Bridge subscribers, $35 for non-subscribers. Breakfast and lunch are included. Questions? Send an email to, or call 734-769-4625. We look forward to seeing you there!

Michigan residents have serious concerns about the K-12 counseling and advising system’s ability to assist students in making decisions about post-secondary education and careers. They believe that high schools, colleges and vocational programs, and students and families are all responsible for career navigation and guidance. And, they have ideas for how to improve the college and career counseling system in Michigan. (Download the full report: "Getting to Work: The public's agenda for improving career navigation, college affordability, and upward mobility in Michigan")

8:30-9 am: Doors open/Registration begins/Continental breakfast

9-9:15: Introduction and Welcome: Phil Power, Founder and Chair, Center for Michigan

9:15-9:45: Panel 1- What’s the Problem? Overview of “Getting to Work” report findings and Bridge reporting on career navigation hurdles. Moderated by Sandra Svoboda, WDET

  • John Bebow, President and CEO, Center for Michigan
  • Amber DeLind, Outreach Director, Center for Michigan
  • Ron French, Senior Writer, Bridge Magazine

9:45-10:30: Panel 2-Improving College and Career Counseling in High Schools. Moderated by John Bebow, Center for Michigan

  • Requiring college and career training/certification for counselors: Patrick O’Connor, Cranbrook Schools
  • MCAN’s counselor training program for in-career counselors; Advisers in every high school: Jamie Jacobs, Michigan College Access Network
  • What students aren’t getting in schools currently: Jim Danielski, Career Planning Specialists
  • Leveraging Michigan’s College and Career Readiness Standards to improve counseling and advising in grades 7-12: Lisa Katz, Workforce Intelligence Network
  • The situation facing counselors: Teresa Severy, Michigan School Counselor Association

10:30-11:15: Panel 3-Career Navigation Lessons from Other States. Moderated by John Bebow, Center for Michigan

  • Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s School Counseling Research Review: Matt Fleck, Fleck Education (education consultant and author of study)
  • Ohio’s Career Advising Policy and Ohio Means Jobs online platform: Carolyn George, director of Career Connections for Ohio Department of Education
  • National experts who work with school districts to implement college and career-ready curricula: Michelle Liebhardt, Assistant Director, Educational Policy Improvement Center (EPIC)

11:15-Noon: Panel 4-Policy Makers Respond. Moderated by the Center for Michigan

  • Karen McPhee, Education Advisor to Governor Snyder
  • Rep. Amanda Price, Chair, House Education Committee
  • Rep. Adam Zemke, Minority Vice Chair, House Education Committee

Noon-12:50: Lunchtime Roundtable: A roundtable discussion with experienced College Advising Corps members

  • Jacqueline Ruhland, AdviseMI director and MSU College Advising Corps alum
  • MSU Advising Corps: Dan Mitchell, Second Year Adviser at Pellston & Alanson High Schools
  • UM Advising Corps: Rachel Osmer, Second Year Adviser, Ypsilanti High School and Phaedra Wainaina, Second Year Adviser, Pontiac High School

12:50: Thank You and Next Steps: John Bebow & Sandra Svoboda

Meet the speakers

Patrick O'Connor, Associate Dean of College Counseling, Cranbrook Schools
Born and raised in Detroit, Patrick has been a college counselor since 1984, serving students in rural, urban, and suburban high schools, as well as community college. In addition to writing weekly columns at Huffington Post and, his writing has appeared in High School Counselor Week,, The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post, The Detroit Free Press, and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. Patrick has served as president of the Michigan Association for College Admission Counseling, and the National Association for College Admission Counseling. He is on the board of Directors at The Common Application, the board of directors of the Michigan College Access Network, and the credentialing commission for the American Institute of Certified Educational Planners. A member of the Political Science Faculty at Oakland Community College, he is a recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Award from Oakland Community College, the Margaret Addis Service to NACAC Award, and the William Gramenz Award (for outstanding contributions to college counseling in Michigan.) He holds five college degrees, including a Ph.D. in Education Administration.

Brandy Johnson, Executive Director, Michigan College Access Network
Before joining MCAN as its founding executive director in 2010, Brandy served in the Governor's Office as college access coordinator. In this capacity, she coordinated the state's college access and success agenda and advised Governor Granholm on postsecondary education policy issues. Brandy hails from Phoenix, Arizona and attained a Bachelor of Science degree in political science with a concentration in public policy advocacy from Arizona State University. Upon graduation, she served as a Teach for America corps member and taught third grade in a low-income neighborhood in Las Vegas, Nevada. Brandy relocated to Michigan in 2007 and received a Master's degree in public policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. More recently, Brandy was named the 2013 Michigan Champion for Children by the Michigan Association of School Administrators and in 2014 she received the National College Access Network's Executive Leader of Excellence Award.

Jim Danielski, Founder and Director, Career Planning Specialists, LLC
Jim Danielski is the Visitor From The Future. For the past 31 years, he has been helping individuals from all age groups and all walks of life optimize their relationship with work. Jim holds a Master's degree in psychology and is the founder and director of Career Planning Specialists, located in Plymouth, Michigan. He is also the co-developer of the Open Options computerized system for vocational information and exploration. Jim has co-produced and hosted 35 television programs related to "success" and has been a speaker, trainer, instructor and guest lecturer at universities, professional association meetings, churches, and community groups.

Lisa Barager Katz, Executive Director, Workforce Intelligence Network
Lisa Baragar Katz is Executive Director of the Workforce Intelligence Network (WIN) of Southeast Michigan. WIN is a consortium of 7 Michigan Works! Agencies and 9 community colleges formed to create a comprehensive and cohesive talent system that provides regional employers with the talent they need for success. To help direct their efforts, WIN provides partners with real-time and other labor market information; engages employers through occupational cluster strategies related to information technology, advanced manufacturing, health care, and retail and hospitality; and supports policy awareness and change efforts, with a special focus on career awareness and readiness. A Michigan native, Lisa has a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University’s James Madison College and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. She also undertook graduate studies at the Latin American Faculty for Social Sciences in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Jay Miller, Legislative Chair, Michigan School Counselor Association
Jay Miller serves as Legislative Chair for the Michigan School Counselor Association, the leading advocate for the role and programs of professional school counselors. He is a school counselor at Dewitt High School.

Matt Fleck, Director, Fleck Education Services
Matt Fleck is an educational professional with more than 19 years experience as a school counselor, workforce readiness educator, state School Counselor Specialist and most recently as state director of Career and Technical Education (CTE) at the Indiana Department of Education. A respected speaker and popular presenter at state and national conferences Matt is also the author of several college and career preparation publications and producer of numerous educational videos.

Carolyn George, Career Connections Administrator, Ohio Department of Education
Carolyn George is the Administrator of Career Connections, a joint initiative among the Governor Kasich’s Office of Workforce Transformation, Ohio Department of Higher Education, and Ohio Department of Education. Carolyn oversees the work of OhioMeansJobs K-12, a dynamic web-based career planning tool for students. Carolyn has worked with the Ohio Department of Education for 10 years. She earned a B.A. in Middle Childhood Education from The Ohio State University and a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Ohio University.

Michelle Liebhardt, Assistant Director, Educational Policy Improvement Network
Michelle serves as assistant director for the Educational Policy Improvement Network, or EPIC. EPIC's mission is to improve educational policy and practices that will increase student success, particularly for students historically underserved by public schools. EPIC conducts a range of policy-related research studies and develops practical tools and techniques that support a dramatic improvement in college and career readiness for students. EPIC is distinguished by its pioneering use of state-of-the-art, criterion-based, standards-referenced methods of course and document analysis.

Karen McPhee, Education Advisor, Governor’s Office
Karen McPhee serves as Education Advisor to Governor Rick Snyder. Karen served as superintendent of the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District from 2004 to 2015, and has worked with the district since 1984. The Ottawa Area Intermediate School District is the sixth-largest in the state, supporting 55,000 students in 11 school districts, six charter schools and 18 parochial schools. The intermediate district’s programs include the Careerline Tech Center; which provides training in 24 career areas to high school students; futurePREP’d, a community and business-driven partnership focused on providing students with career exploration and training; and the Thompson M-TEC, which partners with Grand Rapids Community College and businesses in the region to provide training for adults. As senior education policy adviser, McPhee helps administration efforts to improve reading programs in early grades, work to help prepare high school students for college and careers and improve academics and transparency in all Michigan schools.

State Representative Amanda Price, Chair, House Education Committee
State Rep. Amanda Price was first elected to serve in the House in 2010. Price was re-elected to her third term in November 2014. Price serves as chair of the House Education Committee. She also serves as vice chair of the Local Government committee and is a member of the Communications and Technology, Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, and Workforce and Talent Development committees. Price served as Park Township trustee for ten years and supervisor for two years. She is a former legislative aide to Sen. Patty Birkholz, and also was the public affairs manager for SemcoEnergy. Price is a graduate of Michigan State University, the Institute for Paralegal Training (Philadelphia, Pa), and holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Western Michigan University. Price has been married to her husband Rodger for over thirty years. Their family includes two sons, Nate and Collin, Nate’s wife Dina, a granddaughter, Evelyn, and a grandson, Braxton. They attend Fellowship Reformed Church. Price has served on the boards of several charitable organizations, including the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce, Macatawa Area Coordinating Council Policy Committee, West Michigan Airport Authority, and the Children’s Advocacy Center.

State Representative Adam Zemke, Minority Vice Chair, House Education Committee
State Representative Adam F. Zemke is serving his second term representing Michigan’s 55th House District, which includes the northern part of the city of Ann Arbor, a portion of the city of Milan, and the townships of Ann Arbor, Augusta, Pittsfield and York. He sits on the Appropriations Committee, and serves as minority vice chair on the Education Committee. Before serving in the Legislature, Zemke worked as an engineer in the aerospace, defense and automotive fields. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the College of Engineering at Michigan State University. Zemke has served on the Dexter Township Public Safety Advisory Committee, the city of Ann Arbor’s Housing and Human Services Advisory Board and the Washtenaw County Community Action Board. A fifth-generation Washtenaw County resident, Zemke graduated from Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor and has lived in the community his entire life.

Jacqueline Ruhland, Co-Director, AdviseMI and MSU College Advising Corps alum
Jacqueline serves as a co-director of AdviseMI for the Michigan College Access Network. Prior to joining MCAN she worked for Olivet College as the transfer student recruitment specialist in the Office of Admissions. Jacque attained a bachelor’s degree in social relations and policy from James Madison College at Michigan State University. Upon graduation, she served as a college adviser for the Michigan State University College Advising Corps and found a passion for higher education and college access. She graduated from Oakland University in 2014 with a master’s degree in public administration.

Dan Mitchell, MSU College Advising Corps member, serving at Pellston & Alanson High Schools
Dan graduated from Michigan State University in 2014 with a degree in molecular genetics and anthropology. He is currently serving his second year as an MSU College Advising Corps member at Pellston High School and Alanson High School.

Rachel Osmer, UM College Advising Corps member, serving at Ypsilanti High School
Rachel graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014 with a degree in sociology and women’s students. She is serving her second year as a UM College Advising Corps member at Ypsilanti High School.

Phaedra Wainaina, UM College Advising Corps member, serving at Pontiac High School
Phaedra earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and African-American studies in 2014 and is currently pursuing a law degree at Wayne State University. She is serving her second year as a UM College Advising Corps member at Pontiac High School.

John Bebow, President and CEO, The Center for Michigan
John Bebow is president and CEO of the Center for Michigan. Prior to joining the Center in 2006, he worked for 16 years as a professional journalist, mainly as an investigative reporter for The Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Ann Arbor News, and Traverse City Record-Eagle. He covered the 2003 invasion of Iraq for the Detroit News and Gannett newspapers. He also served as editor-in-chief of, Michigan’s largest online news and information service. He lives in Ann Arbor with his wife, Monica, and their daughter, Delaney. He holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in English from Western Michigan University and a MBA with distinction from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Amber DeLind, Outreach Director, The Center for Michigan
Amber DeLind serves as outreach director of the Center for Michigan. Previously, Amber worked as a grant programs consultant for the Michigan Nonprofit Association, and completed two years of national service as an AmeriCorps*VISTA and VISTA Leader for Michigan Campus Compact. She received a B.A. in psychology from the Michigan State University Honors College and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from Grand Valley State University. She lives in Farmington with her husband, David.

Ron French, Senior Writer, Bridge Magazine
Senior Writer Ron French joined Bridge in 2011 after having won more than 40 national and state journalism awards since he joined the Detroit News in 1995. French has a long track record of uncovering emerging issues and changing the public policy debate through his work. In 2006, he foretold the coming crisis in the auto industry in a special report detailing how worker health-care costs threatened to bankrupt General Motors. In 2007, French uncovered Michigan’s educator pension and health-care costs that are now at the center of policy debate in Lansing. He is also the author of “Driven Abroad,” a book chronicling the movement of Michigan jobs overseas.

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Sun, 09/20/2015 - 1:43pm
Is the schedule more for the benefit of the speakers rather than the general public? There is some merit to that since they have other responsiblities as well but it seems as though this is not something that is going to get a large turnout.