Youth Work With Area Businesses to Solve Business Challenges

Local students have the opportunity to earn two college credits from Jackson College and Baker College. Members of the winning team will be awarded a $1,000 college scholarship from Baker College, Eastern Michigan University, Siena Heights University and Cleary University during a two week summer program from July 10-21, 2017.


iChallengeU is a two week program in which high school students work with area teachers and civic, corporate and community leaders to develop a solution to a challenge posed by the community leaders. This summer’s program will operate for two weeks, July 10-21, 2017. Each team of students and teacher/leader will work with its assigned business contact for 40 hours each week.


Week one of the project is the “study” week. The team will examine the issues involved in the challenge and explore alternative solutions and suggestions for the company as it moves forward. This is the first phase of developing a proposed solution to the challenge.


During week two, the team will develop a “proposed” solution to the challenge. Students will develop a ten minute presentation of the proposed solution which will be shared with the leadership of the business partner on Thursday, July 20. It is anticipated that each team will consider a number of different options during the development of their proposed solution. The team will develop, and be prepared to explain, the rationale that supports its solution.


On Friday July 21, all teams will gather together at Baker College. All teams will present their ten minute solutions to a panel of judges from the tri-county area. The judges will review all of the presentations and determine which team did the best job of developing and presenting its proposal.


Student program participants represent Onsted, Addison, Tecumseh, Adrian, Morenci, Hudson, Madison, Sand Creek, Jackson, Grass Lake, Michigan Center, Northwest, Concord, Hillsdale, Pittsford, Jonesville and Ann Arbor.  Employer program participants include: Airmaster Fan, Anderson Development Company, Hi-Lex, Orbitform, LifeWays, Dahlem Center, TAC Manufacturing, Lenawee County Education Foundation and Energy Systems Group.


“We are excited to see the students present their practical application to each business challenge/question on Friday, July 21, 2017 at Baker College. The experience that each student will walk away from this two week program is next to priceless for their future. Thank you to all of the local educators and businesses for partnering with such a positive program,” commented Nicole Bell, Communications Manager for Michigan Works! Southeast.


Example of Success:

Sydney LaFaive represented Vandercook Lake Schools on a team sponsored by Orbitform of Jackson during the summer of 2016.  Sydney earned a $1,000 scholarship to Eastern Michigan University as a member of that team.  Although she didn’t plan to attend EMU, she decided to apply because of the $1,000 scholarship.   She applied, was accepted, and was told she qualified for a full scholarship to Eastern.  She starts in the fall majoring in Business and minoring in Psychology.   In addition to the scholarship, Orbitform Syndey LaFaiveoffered Sydney a marketing internship which she began a few weeks ago.


Sydney took at risk.  She applied to take part in the iChallengeU program sponsored by Michigan Works! Southeast.  She used the experience as a springboard to a college education and her first step in the corporate world.