Event

How Policy Really Works: Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative Architects Walk MPP Students Through the Process

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Pictured left to right: Paul Elam, Dennis Schrantz, Jeffrey D. Padden, and Alma Wheeler Smith.

Last Thursday, March 15th, both Master of Public Policy cohorts were treated to a panel presentation examining the policy development process from start to finish. The topic at hand was the Michigan Prisoner Re-entry Initiative. This was an eight-year, public-private, evidence-based program that sought to overhaul Michigan’s parole and prisoner re-entry apparatus to address Michigan’s then-skyrocketing prison population, with the prison population peaking in 2006 at 240% of its 1980 level.

MPRI’s goal was to support returning citizens and prepare them for life outside of prison in an effort to reduce recidivism and crime rates overall. The development of the program began in 2003, saw pilot implementation in select counties in 2005, and then expanded to a full statewide implementation in 2008. According to Michigan Department of Corrections reports from the time period of 2006 to 2016, Michigan saw a decrease in the prison population of 20%, a 37% reduction in the index crime rate, and a 35% reduction of parolees returning to prison. Furthermore, 26 prison facilities and corrections camps were closed, leading to savings of $392 million due to closures and operating costs.

2The initiative had a diverse set of stakeholders, including the Michigan Department of Corrections, the National Institute of Corrections, the National Governor’s Association, the Center for Effective Public Policy, the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency, Public Policy Associates (whose current President, Paul Elam helped coordinate and facilitate the event), a number of national, state, and local philanthropies, and Michigan’s major universities. Spearheading the initiative’s development were Dennis Schrantz, Jeffrey D. Padden, and Alma Wheeler Smith.

Mr Schrantz, now the Director of the Division of Training, Research, and Consultancy Services for the Center for Justice Innovation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was the chief deputy director the Michigan Department of Corrections at the time. He wore many hats during this time, working in concert with Mr. Padden to design, implement, monitor, and evaluate the program.

Mr. Padden is the founder of Public Policy Associates and is considered a national leader on strategic planning, performance benchmarking, and evaluation, skills particularly useful when he helped establish the MPRI with the MDOC and the MCCD. In addition to his private sector experience, Jeffrey also served for 10 years as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives, where he chaired the House Corrections Committee. Mr. Padden’s primary focus during the development of the initiative was to improve public safety in Michigan, and by all accounts succeeded.

Alma Wheeler Smith was most recently a member of the Michigan House of Representatives from 2005 to 2010, serving as the leader of the House subcommittee on corrections. Prior to this, she was in the Michigan Senate from 1995 to 2002. Her experience there proved especially useful when she later helped champion the budgetary needs of the MPRI, citing both improvements in public safety and an overall reduction in Michigan’s spend on corrections.

The event concluded with a question and answer portion with students showing particular interest in the political hurdles of the program. The speakers noted that by focusing on reducing the crime rate and costs through effective policy, they were able to gain buy-in from politicians on both sides of the aisle.

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Hire an MPP: Violet Engeu Acumo

  • last - Violet Acumoviolet - CopyPolicy Interest(s): Gender and Social Justice Policy
  • Sector Interest(s): International Non-Profit / Private / Government
  • Location Preference(s): Local / International / No Preference
  • Ideal Role(s): Researcher / Practitioner / Administrator

Violet Engeu Acumo is a graduating Master of Public Policy and a MasterCard Foundation Scholar. In addition to her MPP training, Violet is armed with significant organizational, leadership, and policy development experience. She is actively seeking a position that will challenge her and require some combination of her extensive list of talents and the ability to be a force for positive change.

Violet has an undergraduate degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, training which proved particularly useful when in top-level leadership positions in multiple organizations in her home country of Uganda, and later during her incredible internship in Tanzania and Nigeria. She is particularly adept in the organizational and human resources realms, being very familiar with performance management systems, human resources management and development, organizational behavior and communication, and marketing and evaluation.

She is also an experienced conflict negotiator, proficient in the tenets of sustainable development, and gender and women’s human rights. She even has teaching experience in leadership, integrated learning, and feminist criminology. Building upon this and her graduate specialization in Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change, Violet’s capstone project is, in her own words, “about gender and social justice policy in Sub Saharan Africa. Particularly the criminology of intimate partner violence, the complicity of sub Saharan African governments in this crime, and its policy implications.”

Outside of her MPP courses, Violet is a member of the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, an initiative to educate and prepare young people – particularly from Africa – to lead change and make a positive social impact globally. Like most MPP students, Violet also participated in a summer internship as an avenue to practice some of what she had learned in the classroom. Speaking directly about her experience, she says that in the summer of 2016, she “was recruited into the Agrifood Youth Opportunity Lab Project, a $13 million research undertaking funded by the MasterCard Foundation in partnership with Michigan State University in Nigeria and Tanzania. As Associate Gender Lead, I specifically managed gender mainstreaming and policy development, with implications for recruitment and curriculum development for the project. I developed policy strategy memos for the different project partners, trained ground staff for partnering agencies, and developed psychometric tests for recruitment.”

Violet’s unparalleled drive toward justice and organizational excellence, coupled with her experience in the program, has facilitated her development as future actor for change and, in her own words, made her “set lofty goals” for herself. Violet would make a tremendous addition to any team.

Feel free to reach out to Violet by email or on her LinkedIn.

Check out some of our other graduating Masters of Public Policy!


If you have any questions about our graduating class, please contact Program Director Dr. Josh Sapotichne via email.

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Event

Program Alumni Return for Student Networking Event

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This past Wednesday, the Master of Public Policy Program welcomed six alumni as part of a networking event designed to provide students with some vital soft skill experience, alongside valuable insight and advice in their program and career planning. Students were encouraged to prepare for the event by thinking about how to clearly articulate their policy interests and goals as, in addition to the professional experience they gained in the event itself, it has led to jobs and internships in the past.

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The attending alumni came from a wide array of policy backgrounds, experience levels, and locations. Students were happy to speak with more recent graduates who offered early career advice and earlier alumni who could speak to the value of setting career goals and trends they saw in their fields. Students also said they were happy to interact with people from various geographic locations and policy realms, including government, the private sector, and more. Everyone was very grateful for the alumni volunteering their time to visit!

The attending alumni were:


Lienhardt, JJessica Lienhardt

MPP 2014

Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Officer, Office of the Consulate General of Canada


McGrain_2009Nov19_1413Brian McGrain

MPA 2000

Director of Economic Development and Planning, City of Lansing


JEN FLOOD 21Jen L. Flood

MPP 2013

Government Policy Advisor, Dykema


dougDoug Lynott

MPA 1998

Director, Economic Development Integration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration


DI-05732_DTMB-Jen_Kyle-001Kyle Jen

MPA 2000

Deputy State Budget Director, State of Michigan Budget Office


Juan_mppJuan Loaiza

MPP 2016

CST Manager, A.J. Boggs & Company

 

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Hire a Master of Public Policy – 2018 Overview

It’s hard to believe for our students, but their two years of training as a Master of Public Policy is quickly coming to a close. Our second-year students are currently very busy working on their policy- and impact-driven capstone projects which will be revealed during our 2018 Capstone Forum (to get a taste, see last year’s projects on our site). Make sure to like us on Facebook so you know exactly when tickets become available!

Quite a few MPP students began as career professionals seeking to enhance their skillset. A larger portion of our graduating class is now starting to have an eye toward their first career. Going forward, we’ll be highlighting a handful of them in our Hire an MPP series! Below is a quick overview of our featured candidates, click on their link to read more!


alexAlex Andrews

Policy Interest(s): Economic Development / Urban Affairs

Sector Interest(s): Private / Government

Location Preference(s): Lansing, MI / Grand Rapids, MI


Carlos-Rios-Santiago-Photo-2-175x250Carlos Rios-Santiago

Policy Interest(s): Economic Development / Social Security / Fiscal Policy

Sector Interest(s): Federal Government / Private / Non-profit

Location Preference(s): Washington D.C. / Michigan


FB_IMG_1468939111233-1-175x250Kyle Goldstein

Policy Interest(s): Regulatory, Health, and Energy Policy

Sector Interest(s): Private

Location Preference(s): Michigan


_MG_0734Ian Magnuson

Policy Interest(s): Local Environmental Policy / International Education

Sector Interest(s): Non-profit / Private / Local Government / State Government

Location Preference(s): West Michigan / Pacific Northwest, US/Canada


_MG_0794Chelsea Kazlauskas

Policy Interest(s): Welfare and Housing Policy

Sector Interest(s): Non-profit / Government

Location Preference(s): Michigan / Great Lakes Region


 jacboJacob Thompson

Policy Interest(s): International Development / Environmental and Social Policy

Sector Interest(s): Private / Non-profit

Location Preference(s): Domestic or International / No Preference


last - Violet Acumoviolet - CopyViolet Engeu Acumo

Policy Interest(s): Gender and Social Justice Policy

Sector Interest(s): International Non-Profit / Private / Government

Location Preference(s): Local / International / No Preference


IMG_1264 - Luke Allen

Luke Allen

 

Policy Interest(s): Rural Development / Healthcare

Sector Interest(s): No Preference with Significant Non-Profit Experience

Location Preference(s): Near Washtenaw County, MI / Northern Michigan


mikaylahMikaylah Heffernan

Policy Interest(s): Education and the Environment

Sector Interest(s): Non-Profit / Government

Location Preference(s): Lansing, MI / Washington D.C.


Rothe-MPP-Photo-175x250Warren Rothe

Policy Interest(s): All Things Local Government / Public Finance / Budgeting

Sector Interest(s): Local Government

Location Preference(s): Metro Detroit, MI / Michigan


WechatIMG16 - Xiao XingXiao Xing

Policy Interest(s): Local Government Finance / Education / Policy Evaluation

Sector Interest(s): Non-profit / Private Sector Policy Research

Location Preference(s): Lansing, MI / Washington D.C. / or other Policy Hubs


If you have any questions about our graduating class, please contact Program Director Dr. Josh Sapotichne via email.

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Hire an MPP: Mikaylah Heffernan

  • mikaylahPolicy Interest(s): Education and the Environment
  • Sector Interest(s): Non-Profit / Government
  • Location Preference(s): Lansing, MI / Washington D.C.
  • Ideal Role(s): Politician / Practitioner

Mikaylah Heffernan, a graduating Master of Public Policy, says that her experience with the MPP program has cemented her desire to pursue a career in politics so that she can give back to the communities that have always supported her dreams and ambitions.  Especially valuable to Mikaylah’s experience were her elective courses, allowing her to build a detailed knowledge of select policy problems, especially with regard to her passion of women and children welfare and natural resource policy. She is adept at exploring creative and equitable solutions. Mikaylah’s work experience has shown her the importance of communication with people from all walks of life and has encouraged her to pursue her goal to be a politician that can give back to her community. Mikaylah likes to spend her free time writing children’s literature and volunteer tutoring children with special needs.

Mikaylah can be reached via email or on her LinkedIn.

Check out some of our other graduating Masters of Public Policy!


If you have any questions about our graduating class, please contact Program Director Dr. Josh Sapotichne via email.

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Hire an MPP: Jacob Thompson

  • jacboPolicy Interest(s): International Development / Environmental and Social Policy
  • Sector Interest(s): Private / Non-profit
  • Location Preference(s): Domestic or International / No Preference
  • Ideal Role(s): Practitioner / Researcher

Jacob Thompson, a graduating Master of Public Policy, has a wide set of skills and experience to draw upon in his future endeavors. He attributes part of this to the program, saying that “my MPP experience at MSU broadened my skillset and knowledge base across a variety of topics”. His previous work experience included assisting with international research projects on location which allowed him to refine the skills he originally gained as part of his undergraduate work. These experiences gave him the confidence to learn and master any new tasks or skills needed in the future. He says that he is looking forward to finishing his degree and seeks to make a positive difference in the world. Jacob is an avid concert-goer and outdoorsman.

Jacob can be reached via email.

Check out some of our other graduating Masters of Public Policy!


If you have any questions about our graduating class, please contact Program Director Dr. Josh Sapotichne via email.

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Hire An MPP

Hire an MPP: Alex Andrews

  • alexPolicy Interest(s): Economic Development / Urban Affairs
  • Sector Interest(s): Private / Government
  • Location Preference(s): Lansing, MI / Grand Rapids, MI
  • Ideal Role(s): Policy Analyst / Practitioner

Alex Andrews, a graduating Master of Public Policy, has a wide set of interests in the policy world. Ranging from development, implementation, to analysis, he has taken every opportunity offered by the program to, in his own words, “explore various policy arenas and find out exactly which issues are important to me, while also enhancing my skills in both qualitative and quantitative data analysis”. While exploring these topics, he also made sure to network and learn about the myriad career options in each field, giving him insight into where he believes he will flourish and make an impact.

Alex decided to add one of the optional specializations available to MPP students. With a burgeoning interest in urban affairs, it only made sense to adopt the Global Urban Studies Program specialization (often referred to as GUSP) which allowed him to “[gain] an understanding of the various challenges that municipalities must endure in areas across the globe and how policy can help to ameliorate this burden. Additionally, I have learned what comprises a complete and polished research paper, while gaining the skills necessary to convey the findings of my own research projects in an effective manner”. Alex’s interest in urban affairs has extended to his capstone project as well, focusing on public opinion via social media usage at the local level.

Alex also serves as a research assistant for the Global Urban Studies Program, which has helped develop his academic skillset. He says that it has helped him formulate his “research objectives and the methods necessary to efficiently and effectively collect, analyze, and interpret data”. Critically, he credits this experience with teaching him to manage his time more effectively, having to “balance my school workload with my own research assignments, while also teaching me to be more self-motivated in nearly every aspect of my life”.

Alex can be reached via email or on his LinkedIn.

Check out some of our other graduating Masters of Public Policy!


If you have any questions about our graduating class, please contact Program Director Dr. Josh Sapotichne via email.

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