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Michigan State University's Michigan Political Leadership Program is set to host a "lunch and learn" event on the Grand this September.

"Engage Grand Rapids" takes place on Friday, Sept. 14 bringing a panel to talk about building family finances and Michigan Political Leadership Program (MPLP) alumni to talk about the value of the program that can help citizens make a difference.

Engage Grand Rapids is set for 11:30 a.m. at Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine -- Secchia Center at 15 Michigan St. NW, Room 130, off downtown Grand Rapids. 

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is a click away:

"This is set to be an exciting event, combining family financial strength with leadership tips and opportunities shared by MPLP alumni," said IPPSR Interim Director Arnold Weinfeld, an expert in community building and development. "This will showcase opportunities for people to develop their own leadership skills and experience the thrill of making a difference in their own communities," he said.

Engage Grand Rapids follows July's "Engage Kalamazoo," in July. It featured two panels -- one on trends and updates in children’s health and the second featuring alumni from MSU’s Michigan Political Leadership Program (MPLP.)

Both opportunities are made possible through a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek.

In Kalamazoo, Children's Health Panel Speakers were:

  • Michelle Datema, nurse-family oartnership and health education manager, Calhoun County Public Health Department.

  • Keith English, professor and chair, Department of Pediatrics, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University.

  • Nancy Lindman, director of public policy & partnerships, Michigan Association of United Ways.

  • Alicia Guevara Warren, Kids Count Project director, Michigan League for Public Policy.

MPLP Alumni Panel Speakers were:

  • Sean McCann, candidate for the Michigan Senate and graduate of the MPLP Class of 1999.

  • Gregory Moore, community affairs manager, Consumers Energy and MPLP Class of 2003 graduate.

  • Sen. Margaret O’Brien, graduate of the MPLP Class of 2000.

  • Jake Smith, Calhoun county commissioner, MPLP Class of 2015 alumni.

MPLP is a bipartisan fellowship program inviting men and women from across the state to apply for specialized training in personal leadership, policy analysis and good governance.

The certificate program takes 24 fellows – 12 Democrats and 12 Republicans – around the state to meet Michigan’s top leaders in government, business, communities and media.

Fellows take part in debate, hands-on activities, campaign skill development and specialized exercises, including campaign commercial and media interview simulations. 

More than 600 people have graduated from MPLP throughout the program’s history. More than half of MPLP’s graduates have gained elected or appointed office. More than a dozen MPLP graduates make their homes in Kalamazoo or the surrounding region.

See graduates at

MPLP Fellowship applications for the Class of 2019 are due Friday, Sept 28, 2018. Applications will be available Engage Grand Rapids and are also online at: