Dean's Blog: Choose InnovateGov for #GiveGreenDay

November 27, 2018 - Dean Rachel Croson



Dr. Josh Sapotichne teaches a course as part of the InnovateGov program within the College of Social Science at Michigan State University. Like many other cities in the U.S. that suffered in the recession, the City of Detroit is experiencing a resurgence, yet there remains a substantial amount of work to be done. MSU students, the College of Social Science and the Department of Political Science are playing an important part in that resurgence. We need your support on this Give Green Day to enable and expand this work.

InnovateGov started in 2012, with 10 students, and one partner (City of Detroit Income Tax Division) who participated in a unique study away / service learning experience in Detroit. Students are paired with local government agencies, nonprofits, and community organizations for a summer-long internship, combined with a course taught by Dr. Josh Sapotichne (pictured above).

From those humble beginnings, the program has grown to 50 students, and over 30 Detroit civic-partners. Students from all over MSU’s campus bring their talents and enthusiasm to help Detroit. Some of the previous projects and successes include:

  • Wayne County Treasurer’s Office: MSU students devised a process to assist 1,000 Wayne County residents in danger of foreclosure. The students reached 900 residents and successfully arranged payment plans to cancel the foreclosure process.
  • Detroit Public Schools Community District: MSU students revamped the competitive high school application process and presented strategies to Superintendent Vitti to attract and retain teaching talent, and also worked on the Farm To School internship program.
  • Department of Neighborhoods:, MSU students worked to prepare strategies for the 2020 census, ensuring that the City of Detroit is properly represented.
  • Data Driven Detroit: MSU students helped this crucial non-profit in Detroit transition to an employee owned business, providing valuable insight and research during the transition.
  • Detroit Economic Growth Corporation: MSU students launched D2D- a system to connect businesses in Detroit with local suppliers.

Beyond the summer experience, InnovateGov students return to work in the City. Over 15 students have accepted full- time positions in civic institutions throughout the City of Detroit, including the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, the City of Detroit Health Department, Income Tax Department, Build Institute of Detroit, and Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund.

This program not only transforms Detroit, it transforms our students, providing pivotal real-world experiences, and preparing them for careers where they will continue to leverage their talents and efforts to make the world a better place. The program trains the next generation of local leaders throughout the State of Michigan.

The College of Social Science is transforming the human experience by connecting talented students with community needs to enhance Detroit’s resurgence.  To give and learn more visit .


Sincerely Yours,

Rachel T.A. Croson


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