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More college students interested in teaching programs

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Saginaw Valley State University's accelerated teaching program has been around for several years, but its partnership with local school districts could help fast-track 23 local school employees to becoming teachers.

The candidates come from a variety of schools including out of state, and the program is drawing individuals pursuing teaching as a second career, said J.J. Boehm, university spokesperson.

“The teaching career is going to be a very important career in terms of helping those young people realize their potential, and we’re encouraged by the increased interest we are seeing in our teaching program," Boehm said.

Enrollment has declined over the years, but he said the university might be seeing a rebound in the education department—like Central Michigan University.

It was one of the schools to make headlines in Michigan for declining enrollment in recent years. CMU’s enrollment has seen an increase this year, and the education department is seeing more people want to become teachers.

Incentives by the state helped drive up enrollment, along with emphasizing the rewarding experience of teaching, said Paula Lancaster, dean of the College of Education and Human Services.

She also said teaching programs are now more practical and shorter than before.

"In the past, teacher preparation has been a lot of talking about teaching and not a lot about doing teaching," Lancaster said. "And now we are inserting many more opportunities to do clinical work, to do practice and do simulations."

Lancaster said she has seen more freshmen interested in teaching this year than usual.

Ben Jodway is an intern, serving as a reporter for WCMU Public Media and the Pioneer in Big Rapids. He has covered Indigenous communities and political extremism in Michigan.