GRACE (Geographic Information Systems Resources and Applications for Career Education) is a project sponsored by the National Science Foundation that was developed by Eastern Michigan University and its partners, including Michigan Virtual. Its goal is to enable teachers and students to develop new STEM skills and competencies.

Our goals are your goals

Project goals include establishing a three-stage process that encourages a large number of middle and high school students and teachers to engage in learning through GIS/T experiences across the state of Michigan.

  • The Explorer level introduces students to GIS/T through ArcGIS Online Portal and demonstrations developed with online GIS/T tools to build students’ basic understanding of GIS/T as well as pique student curiosity.
  • The Investigator level leverages students’ curiosity and prepares them to work with GIS/T lesson modules that are designed to enhance science and engineering practices and align with the Next Generation Science Standards.
  • The Intern level provides students with professional GIS/T training and opportunities to gain work experiences in local organizations as interns.

Fulfilling the demand for STEM careers

The STEM market is growing almost 35 percent annually, with the commercial subsection expanding at a rate of 100 percent each year. GIS/T has long been recognized as playing a fundamental role in emergency services, transportation and urban planning, environmental hazard management, resource exploitation, military operations, and the conduct of relief operations. In the future, geographical tools and techniques will be of vital importance to the effort to monitor, analyze, and confront the unprecedented changes that are unfolding on Earth’s surface.

A benefit to educators

The benefits of teacher participation include access to insertable GIS-enabled adaptable lessons that are easily integrated into STEM classes, 60 hours of professional development, tech support from GIS/T professional mentors and pedagogy support from GIS Ed-community, plus a stipend.


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Limited Course Capacity

We’re sorry to inform you that we have reached capacity for several of our Semester 1 and Trimester 1 courses. You’ll notice when attempting to enroll students in our Student Learning Portal that some courses are unavailable. While we are no longer accepting new enrollments for these courses at this time, many courses continue to remain open for enrollment.

With many students across the state 100% remote, demand for our online courses is greater than ever before. Because every course we offer is taught by a Michigan-certified teacher, this high volume of enrollments has created capacity issues for our teachers who provide each and every student with individual feedback.

While the Michigan Virtual team anticipated and planned for significant increases in student enrollments this Fall, the increased demand we’ve experienced has been unprecedented. As a result, we are taking steps to hire even more part-and full-time teachers to support larger numbers of student enrollments for Semester 2 as well as for Trimester 2 and 3. 

For schools that still need online learning options this year, please fill out the form at the bottom of our virtual pathways page to meet with someone to discuss other solutions. While some of our teacher-led courses are full, we may still have the capacity to help you in upcoming terms or can discuss timing to implement a whole-school or collaborative program in which local teachers from your school/district use our online course content to teach students. We also have free course content and resources available for you to use.

We know this is an incredibly stressful time for all, and we’re sorry if the courses you’re looking for are unavailable. We never want to turn away a student who wants to learn from us. Our top concern, however, is student success, and we have a policy to not take on additional enrollments if we cannot guarantee that all students will have a quality online learning experience. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate the unusually high volume of enrollments we are receiving.