The biggest challenge for growth in Michigan business and our state’s economy – is preparing a ready workforce for today’s very different business environment. Mark Simon is up to the challenge.

The main thing I’m doing is getting students that real-world experience. Having them carry out real-world projects.

Mark Simon is a professor of business management at Oakland University in Rochester Hills.

Today’s Detroit is a different Detroit from even three years ago.

An influx of start-ups, specific capital, funding to support those startups and a culture that is motivated by not just profits, but sustainability.

The first goal is to improve society, but you do that through a business model which makes at least a little bit of profit. Then you re-invest the profit into the business so you can help even more people. So because of that the business is sustainable.

For decades the vast majority of what students learned took place in the classroom, but because of a major cultural shift within the business community schools are now breaking with tradition and taking these kids outside.

Professor Simon recently exemplified that point by taking his students on an international field trip to South America. To a poverty stricken society. An area ripe for this new entrepreneurial spirit.

They noticed a tremendous need for the village to increase their coffee production and hopefully export that coffee. They are developing a plan to help this village and that type of real-world experience really makes all the difference.

This feature is part of CBS 62’s Eye On Detroit series as seen weekdays during “CBS This Morning”.


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