Welcome to OPTIMISE!

Your Guide to Michigan’s Special Education Careers

OPTIMISE is a Michigan group made up of nearly 20 education partners to attract, prepare, and retain more professionals in the special education field.

This one-stop-shop website features over 1,200 jobs in a variety of careers that help excel children with disabilities including special education teachers, paraeducators, school psychologists, behaviorist, and more.

Discover nine professions, their funding options, and basic steps to jumpstart your career in special education.

Explore Special Education Careers

“It feels as if there is true traction and steps will happen that lead to a change in special education.”
“I’m most excited about streamlining special education processes to increase the time available to support kids! Thank you so much!!”
“The OPTIMISE experience is beneficial, empowering, educational, and diverse.”
“I’m most excited about having a statewide electronic streamlined IEP system that reduces paperwork demands.”
“OPTIMISE is an organization in education that actually uses a systematic process to bring positive changes to the system to serve our students and families better to become contributing members of society.”
“The OPTIMISE work is amazing. I spent time with my peers and bouncing ideas off of one another, which was amazing and lacking at times in my current role. I’m leaving the Action Team with some amazing ideas to take home and try.”
“It’s exciting to see momentum again in special education. Very productive.”
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Attract Prepare and Retain Special Education Graphic


Knowledgeable, compassionate, and diverse individuals to the wide range of career options within the field of special education profession.


Special education personnel by building capacity through targeted, intentional professional learning opportunities, technical assistance, and support.


Special education personnel long-term through the collaborative efforts of federal, state, and local entities.

OPTIMISE Leadership

Laurie VanderPloeg

OPTIMISE Consultant

Kathy Fortino

OPTIMISE Project Manager