Applications sought for second year of staff development fund


University staff members can apply for up to $1,500 to support personal and professional development, while work teams can apply for up to $5,000 to support training and team building through the Career Development Fund for Staff.

Applications for the fund’s second year are being accepted through Dec. 31.

The fund originally was announced in November 2022 to provide $200,000 per year for five years. In its first year, staff submitted more than 700 applications.

In response, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer committed to doubling the amount of grant funding for fiscal year 2024. Additionally, the fund has been identified as a Central Action Item in the universitywide DEI 2.0 plan.

“We were so inspired by our staff’s desire for career development, we knew we had to do more,” said Geoff Chatas, executive vice president and chief financial officer. “We invested more money to make an even greater impact in the lives of our co-workers, uplift the atmosphere of our working groups, and foster excellence for the university.”

Grants will be awarded in spring 2024. Those selected to receive grants can apply the award to development opportunities from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2025, as either a reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses or an advance for future learning opportunities.

“Supporting the growth and development of our staff is at the very core of being leaders and best,” said Richard Holcomb Jr., associate vice president for human resources. “U-M’s success hinges on nurturing our staff’s potential and fostering a positive workplace experience.”

One example of the impact of supporting staff development is Grace Sekulidis, a program manager in the Office of Student Conflict Resolution. She received a grant to attend and present at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education.

“My passion is diversity, equity and inclusion work. Attending NCORE was a unique, life-changing experience,” Sekulidis said. “It opened my eyes to different career paths and reaffirmed my long-term career goal of becoming a DEI trainer. Presenting at the conference reinforced that my voice has value and I can make an impact.”

The fund is administered by University Human Resources in partnership with Voices of the Staff. It is an evolution of the Voices Career Development Fund, which was launched during the university’s bicentennial and funded entirely by employees.

“It’s the people who bring the mission of the university to life every day,” said Dyan Jenkins-Ali, assistant director of Voices of the Staff. “These grants serve as a catalyst, empowering our exceptional staff to explore new avenues for personal and collective growth and impact.”

Funding for the Career Development Fund for Staff is provided by the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.


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