On this week’s episode, State Representative Debbie Dingell secures $550,000 for EMU services, EMU to host the 42nd Undergraduate Symposium, and Amazon partners with Eastern Michigan University to pay for employees’ tuition. I am your host, Jacob Walter Kendrick, and this is the Eastern Echo Podcast.
Starting off, Debbie Dingell secures $550,000 for EMU Services. U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell has secured $14 million in federal funding for Washtenaw County community services and granted $550,000 to Eastern Michigan University.
EMU will receive about $250,000 for prisoner reentry services, the Returning Citizen Fellows Program, and nearly $300,000 for their early childhood education services, the Collaborative Child Development Center.
Dingell said in a written statement: “Local leaders in our cities and towns are working every day to improve the lives of their neighbors and strengthen our communities, and it’s our federal government’s job to support them. With this investment of nearly $14 million divided among ten critical local projects, we will give community organizations the support they need to create real, lasting change.”
EMU launched its Returning Citizen Fellows Program in January 2021. The program aims to remove barriers to college education for the formerly incarcerated. This funding will support the program by expanding the number of people served.
Jennifer Kellman Fritz, Professor and Director of EMU’s School of Social Work, said to the Echo: "EMU Social Work students work with local nonprofits to help the clients access housing, trauma-informed care, mental health and substance abuse services, job training, and anything else they might need upon their return.”
These two projects are a part of Dingell’s community project funding, which includes other Michigan community projects located in Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, and other parts of the 12th Congressional District.
Next, EMU to host the 42nd Undergraduate Symposium. Eastern Michigan University’s 42nd Undergraduate Symposium will be held in-person on Friday, March 25, at the EMU Student Center.
Undergraduate students' research projects, design-based projects, and performances in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences will be showcased. Students, faculty, staff, and the general public are welcome to attend.
The event will be kickstarted by this year’s keynote speaker, EMU alumna and novelist Bethany Ball, at 8:30 a.m.
Students may give 15-minute oral or poster presentations about their research project, and attendees have the opportunity to participate in these presentations.
This year’s research project topics include increasing safety in self-driving cars, reducing the risk of stroke in specific populations, exploring the effects of teaching the German language in early education, creating quality animation with low-cost software, and more.
Other students may participate in the Crossing Lines Design Expo, which showcases design-based projects in a gallery. Visual creative projects include interior design, 2D and 3D art, simulation animation gaming, and furniture design.
The event is held from 8:35 a.m. to 3 p.m. and parking will be available for free at the EMU Student Center Lot. Masks and other COVID-19 safety guidelines will be in place.
For more information on the 42nd Undergraduate Symposium, visit the website at emich.edu/symposium.
Lastly, Amazon Partners with Eastern Michigan University to pay for employee’s tuition.
Eastern Michigan University recently announced their acceptance in Career Choice, a part of Amazon’s pledge which includes a $1.2 billion commitment to upskill more than 300,000 Amazon employees by 2025.
Amazon’s career choice mission is to provide their employees a chance to pursue a college degree or certificate that will be paid for by the company. This upskilling program was created to help frontline employees grow their skills for career success at Amazon or elsewhere. Amazon would be paying for first-time degrees or if employees have partial credits with no degree. This program is available for all Amazon employees.
Melissa Thrasher, director of Media Relations at Eastern Michigan University, speaks on behalf of the university and its acceptance into this program.
Thrasher said to the Echo: “Eastern Michigan University is proud to have been selected by Amazon to be one of two universities in Michigan and two community colleges to participate in the program. The others are Grand Valley, Henry Ford College, and Grand Rapids Community College.”
Amazon has more than 26,000 employees in Michigan that can benefit from this program. With more than 700,000 across the nation, these benefits become available after 90 days of employment.
The company will be paying up to $5,250 in college-related costs annually for employees.
Thrasher said to the Echo: “Even though the program was just announced, we already have seven Amazon employees enrolled. Some of them are taking pretty heavy course loads–one employee has 20 credits and two others are taking 15 credits.”
Amazon also has other programs to help their employees gain other skills as well. The company recently partnered with Voxy EnGen and goFLUENT to provide English proficiency training. They partnered with Outlier to provide college preparation courses too, as well as GEDWorks and Smart Horizons to provide employees with free high school completion and GED preparation.
EMU students and Amazon employees interested in the program can learn more about Career Choice on Amazon’s webpage.
Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode of the Eastern Echo News Podcast.
Reported: Cedrick Charles, Meghan Forystek, Breanna Harris
Scripted: Tre Briscoe
Produced: Chase Hunter
Host: Jacob Kendrick