Leadership program helps professionals understand policy issues

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LANSING — The Michigan Chamber of Commerce connects a cross section of professionals through its Leadership Michigan program that allows them to see the diverse possibilities in the state.

Aimee Bahs, the chamber’s director of marketing and events, said the goal is “to introduce participants to the critical issues facing Michigan so they can make a bigger difference in the state.”

The program has been around since 1988 and has approximately 500 alumni. The Michigan Chamber Foundation, the chamber’s nonprofit division, began the program.

Twenty-eight professionals are now in the course that will “provide the learning opportunities, unique experiences and statewide contacts so they can take that next step," Bahs said.

Bahs said the advisory board looks for “the motivated person with a desire to promote positive change for Michigan.

“We want to see if applicants are in tune with the state and want to make a difference,” she said. “This person has to be dedicated to the future of Michigan.”

Tuition is $3,600; partial scholarships are available.

Bahs said that during a six-month period, participants travel to six regions of the state and focus on specific issues — education, health care, forestry and mining, the automotive industry, agriculture and land use.

For example, participants will meet in Midland for work force and economic development training. They will also spend time in Lansing to gain an understanding of government, tax and regulatory issues. They will visit an iron ore mine in Marquette to understand the issues facing forestry and mining, and a state prison in Jackson.

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