Detroit Regional Chamber > Education & Talent > After School: Good for Kids. Good for Business.

After School: Good for Kids. Good for Business.

May 30, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • The need for after school programming needs to start early and encompass all students.
  • Funding and policy from both sides of the aisle are necessary to support the programming needed.
  • By better supporting students, the talent crisis and retention of students can be addressed.


The Need for After School Programming

Richard opened the discussion by explaining why Gov. Gretchen Whitmer created MiLEAP and how it can address the talent and educational crisis, suggesting that we must start children’s education before kindergarten for them to eventually thrive in today’s economy.

“We have to support every student to take [the] next step after high school — skills, certificates, degrees, [and] apprenticeships,” she said. “We have to make sure that … we’re thinking really intentionally about what’s happening before the school day, what’s happening after the school day, [and] what is happening in the summer.”

After school programming can be utilized as wrap-around support, preparing young talent in Michigan for life beyond education and teaching hard skills.

Johnson echoed this, highlighting the skills that they learn from these programs. The “skills they need not just to get a job,” she said, “but to keep a job how they manage conflicts and, on the job, how do you manage, how do they communicate well?”

The Testament of After School Programming

On the benefits of after school programs from a student’s perspective, Bethel said, “there’s a lot of great things that come with after school opportunities in terms of artistry [and] of what I’ve been able to do.”

While there is overwhelming community, political, and educational support, the question of who will fund these programs and the organizations that facilitate them still remains.

“[Students] don’t know anything about funding,” he said. “We don’t know what we don’t know or what you’re doing. We just know the impact that you’re having on us.”

How After School Programming is Important for Business Development

White noted that the pandemic-related learning loss and adjacent population crisis are related – making it a bipartisan issue – for the state to acknowledge and address.

“What we need to figure out from a policy standpoint is how to link business a little bit more together with philanthropy groups,” he said, “and have a positive impact on the economy and, more importantly, will support a positive impact to kids.”

This session was hosted by Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.