Lansing-area businesses are taking the Keep Learning Pledge, sponsored by a coalition of education, business, government and media partners committed to increasing the number of college graduates in mid-Michigan. It debuted almost two years ago and includes Summer Schriner, owner of Grace Boutique, and Vince Villegas, of Vince Villegas Group and an associate broker with Keller Williams Realty. Both are faces of the campaign.
Schriner says that continuing education is less about the degree, and more about enriching your life. Traveling is an educational experience, she says, and goes abroad about once a year, and also to New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, when purchasing her clothing lines. Although Schriner has a law degree, the boutique takes most of her time. She wanted to offer Lansing classic clothing styles andeducated herself on how to write a business plan and approach a bank, then met wholesalers and opened Grace Boutique in Old Town Lansing.
Looking back, Villegas says that at age three he watched the construction of new homes in his neighborhood. He considers himself fortunate to have discovered his passion at such a young age. For someone wanting to change careers, Villegas recommends finding your passion, whether it’s to be a teacher, a nurse or an author. Most important, he says, is to find a mentor and learn from his or her successes.
For someone wanting to move up in a present job, Schriner suggests approaching a supervisor and asking if you need more education or different work experience. Villegas says to perform at a higher level and outshine the competition.
The way Schriner helps employees incorporate the Keep Learning Pledge is to accommodate their school schedules. One employee was given time off to pursue an internship in Washington, D.C. When asked what he would tell someone who has not taken the Keep Learning Pledge, Villegas says that honing skills and abilities is incredible—personally, for our workforce, our community and our society. Find out more and take the pledge at www.learforourfuture.org.
| ||Linda Keefe-Lewis|