Emerging Talent Initiative Subject Of August Can Do! Meeting

Every state in the union is attempting to get successful businesses to move to their state.  They offer incentives, mostly tax breaks, in the hope of reviving cities and entire regions that may have been declining for decades.  In Eaton County, some folks have come up with a better plan: grow, facilitate and sustain local talent.

This month’s CanDo! general meeting will feature Eaton County Emerging Talent Initiative.  Their mission is linking young talent to local business, finance and media interests, as well as fostering entrepreneurship.  In conjunction with Olivet College, ECETI is working to develop 60 ongoing internships within the region.  The community is invited to hear and discuss their plan.

Because we at CanDo! are in the business of developing opportunity,  we are greatly interested to hear what representatives at ECETI have to say and are excited by the prospects.  As area colleges develop critical thinkers and creative minds, we recognize that it is in everyone’s interest to keep our best and brightest, our emerging talent right here.

Join the discussion at the CanDo! general meeting on Wednesday, August 28 at 7 a.m. in the Spartan Room of Charlotte Community Library.  Add your ideas and talents to Charlotte’s celebrated incubator of opportunity.

Expanding Minds And Opportunities

There is no silver bullet for providing the best opportunities for our youth.  Growing a well-rounded student requires multiple collaborations and approaches in this highly competitive, highly technological age that also comes with yearly budget cuts and dwindling support from Lansing.

Many communities are looking to fill the student preparation gap.  They are looking for partnerships with the educational system that will enhance opportunities for their children to fully develop despite the travails of public school.  Charlotte is planning too.

The July general meeting of Can Do! will explore Crosswalk Teen Center—an afterschool and non-school time center that will open in Charlotte this fall.  CTC will offer opportunities for enrichment, creativity and entrepreneurial development for students while connecting those students with their community through focused, relevant projects, activities, opportunities and training.

This is not merely another “after school program.”  It is an answer to tight budgets, struggling families and communities looking to add learning opportunities while strengthening community.  Furthermore, CTC hopes to expand the horizons of young people – challenging them to try something that stretches them toward their full potential.

Intended partnerships include educators, community organizations, the faith community, employers, and volunteers working in partnership to broaden the spectrum of relevant learning.  Partnership might even include the reader of this article.  So come hear Rick Todd discuss his vision for Crosswalk Teen Center at the general meeting of CanDo! this Wednesday morning, July 24 at 7:00 am.  Join a discussion about the future, our children and our community in the Spartan Room of the Charlotte Community Library.

State of the Arts: Cultural Collaboration and Opportunity in Tough Times

The June general membership meeting of Can Do! will explore the current economic, social, political and cultural conditions that form the field upon which Charlotte’s civic organizations attempt to create a vibrant, culturally active community. Can Do! vice chairman Curtis Scott will discuss modes of collaboration and support necessary to attract individuals and families to use our facilities and consider relocation. As resources dwindle, the arts in all forms face, in some cases, insurmountable odds. Detroit, for instance, is pressed to sell off the most valuable art in the DIA – perhaps the most precious cultural asset in the state – to cover the debts of the city. Similarly, public school arts programs in neighboring school districts and our own are falling victim to budget axes to save diminishing school resources. The feeder programs for future musicians, artists and actors are in peril nearly everywhere.

The arts are in distress for lack of funding throughout most of Michigan and the United States, yet Charlotte has the infrastructure, organization and perhaps unique opportunity to create a cultural haven for individuals and families drawn to places that still support the arts. It will, however, require expansive collaboration between local and regional individuals, organizations and businesses to make this happen. With Charlotte Performing Arts Center, Alive, Windwalker, the Senior Center, the Courthouse and a potential outdoor venue as anchors, Charlotte has the assets to become a cultural island for the entire region.

At June’s Can Do! meeting, Mr. Scott will discuss untapped opportunities for collaboration and the benefits of being perhaps the last community standing when it comes to adequately supporting local arts programs. He will paint a vision of people throughout the region perceiving Charlotte as their destination place to be entertained, informed and enlightened, as well as how and why we need to prime the pump, so to speak, and the steps we as an organization and as a community need to take to make it happen.

The June general membership meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 26 at 7:00 p.m. in the Spartan Room of the Charlotte Community Library. Coffee and a light breakfast will be provided free of charge. The public is welcome to attend.

Lou Glazer To Address Can Do! Membership About Michigan’s Future

Many of us can recall a time when a young man could drop out of high school his junior year then get a job in the shop, any one of dozens of GM, Ford or Chrysler plants around the state.  Soon that young man would be driving up to his old high school showing off his new Camaro.  That era began collapsing in 1980. Michigan has been struggling ever since.

Agriculture aside, Michigan has been attempting what amounts to CPR on its manufacturing-based economy for 33 years.  All the while sons and daughters leave for jobs elsewhere; wages remain stagnant or have fallen, and unemployment remains high.  For many in Michigan, pondering the future is still a source of anxiety.

At Charlotte Area Network for Development and Opportunity, CanDo!, we think a lot about the future—our future as a town, our social, cultural, and economic condition as well as the health of the region.  We stoke creativity, relish new ideas, like Alive, and appreciate foundational investments in our future, like the Charlotte Performing Arts Center.  We are in the business of Charlotte’s and Michigan’s future.

Our guest for March is also in the business of Michigan’s future.

Lou Glazer
Michigan Future President Lou Glazer

He is Lou Glazer, president and co-founder of Michigan Future Inc., a non-partisan, non-profit organization intent on being “a catalyst for prosperity.”  Mr. Glazer is going to tell us, among other things, that we should stop trying to resuscitate the 1975 manufacturing economy.  Instead, he argues, we should shift to a knowledge-based economy, and bring our educational processes into sync with our social and economic needs.

At this moment when there is still so much anxiety about the future of this great state, perhaps the best thing to do is listen to someone with a good idea and an action plan to implement it.  Join us on March 27 at 7am in the Charlotte Public Library for Mr. Glazer’s expert analysis, great discussion and, because it is so early, hot coffee from Faye’s.