What it’s Like in the Real World

Stacy Bogard

By Stacy Bogard, CAE, MASB Assistant Director of Communications, PR & Marketing

DashBoard, Dec. 20, 2017

Conversations about personal branding, interviewing skills, networking and dining etiquette are just a sampling of what’s discussed on a monthly basis between students involved in the Detroit Economic Club’s Career Readiness Academy and their mentors.

A seven-month program that brings together high school students and DEC Young Leaders (ages 21-40), the CRA provides mentorship for effectively navigating high school, as well as looking to the student’s future in finding greater success in the working world.

“Basically, the CRA allows real-world young professionals to provide hands-on advice and guidance to students on topics to help them make more desirable candidates for whatever path they have their heart set on,” notes Josh Denzler, a first-year mentor in the program and board member for Lake Shore Public Schools.

The program includes seminar-style workshops facilitated by the mentors, as well as a hands-on skilled trades career fair, a dining etiquette night with DTE CEO Gerry Anderson and visiting mentor workplaces, among other activities.

Denzler became involved through his workplace. “I was connected to the DEC through the Young Professionals group (called SURGE) at DTE,” he said. “As a leader and advocate in public education, how could I pass up an opportunity to provide guidance and preparation to students to help them be successful in life?”

“I think it is a great supplement to current career and technical education/career and college readiness efforts and provides a different teaching perspective coming from young professionals,” Denzler said. “As I understand it, the program also tries to focus on the at-risk student population to give them some real-world knowledge that may not be easily accessible to them in their day-to-day lives.”

In addition to the CRA, the DEC’s Student Program includes a Financial Education Seminar focused on banking basics and scholarships.

For those in the metropolitan Detroit area looking to get involved on behalf of your district (it’s free!) or as an individual, visit the DEC’s website to learn more.

If there are programs like this in your area, please share them with MASB at

Read More DashBoard Articles