Expanding on our decades of experience partnering with state and federal departments, nonprofits, education associations, community-based organizations, and school districts, to help solve persistent workforce and education problems, Public Policy Associates, Inc. (PPA) has released two short issue briefs exploring program models designed to eliminate school-level educator shortages.

In December, PPA released a brief, Grow Your Own Teachers: A Focus on Special Education Teachers, which concentrated on severe staffing shortages in special education. Michigan has historically reported shortages across multiple special education endorsement areas and recently has experienced shortages in all categories of special education teachers.

PPA’s first brief in the series, released in October, explored two program models for Grow Your Own (GYO) Teacher programs. GYO models aim to eliminate school-level educator shortages and seek to diversify school staff by providing a pathway for local candidates into the teaching profession.

GYO programs have taken root in other states with Tennessee in January becoming the first state to be approved by the U.S. Department of Labor to establish a permanent Grow Your Own model. Tennessee’s apprenticeship program provides a national model to help recruit teachers to obtain high-quality jobs in their own communities.

GYO program models are important to Michigan as a tool to mitigate severe staffing shortages across the state. Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s education budget proposal, which was released earlier this month, invests in several program models to help address persistent shortages. The proposed investments will help develop GYO programs in Michigan to help educator staff become teachers and invests in retention bonuses to keep more educators in the classroom.

Previously, PPA, in partnership with the Middle Cities Education Association, the Michigan Education Association, and AFT Michigan, conducted a statewide listening tour that documented educator feedback related to educator shortages in Michigan. Among the solutions generated by educators, GYO programs were offered as a promising practice for Michigan to consider.

To learn more about Grow Your Own programs or PPA’s work on education issues, contact Daniel Quinn, Director for Education Policy at dquinn@publicpolicy.com or (202) 854-8077.