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Jewish Communal Leadership Program Fellow

P’ninah Kanai, MSW '15

  • Practice Area:
    Community and Social Systems
  • Practice Method Concentration:
    Management of Human Services

P’ninah Kanai has a year and a half to go in her MSW program, but she’ll start work at her “dream job” before she even graduates. In a unique internship arrangement between the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor & Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor, Kanai will be providing marketing and program development for both organizations when her summer field placement begins. And when she graduates, she hopes to continue in the position full time. For Kanai, it’s a “huge” step forward in her career path, as well as the fulfillment of a personal dream.

Kanai, who is married and has a four-year old daughter, spent the last 20-plus years working for global advertising and marketing agencies in New York and Detroit. She’s also been providing a wide scope of marketing and branding services to nonprofit organizations — most of them Jewish communal agencies — through a small business that she started 16 years ago. Now she’s following her heart by earning her MSW through the Jewish Communal Leadership Program (JCLP).

It’s incredibly beneficial to have students in the JCLP who identify with Jewish civilization in different ways. We provide a tremendous amount of enlightenment and support for each other.

“I have a lot of work experience, but there’s no substitute for formal education and the endorsement of a university of the caliber of U-M. Both are equally important if you want to be a leading candidate and a top performer in the job market. Through the JCLP, I’m building a strong foundation of in-depth knowledge of social work and the Jewish community, to give me the credibility I need to accelerate my career.”

The JCLP provides opportunities for students committed to helping the Jewish community meet current and future challenges while addressing broader social concerns. Actively supported by the Ann Arbor and metro Detroit Jewish communities, as well as an array of national and global foundations and individual donors, the JCLP is highly visible on both a national and international scale. Leaders of global Jewish and non-Jewish organizations regard the program as a top recruiting resource for their future leaders.

“I came to U-M because I wanted the security of knowing that I’m getting a top-notch, thorough education. I’ve waited a long time to be in a position where I could even consider making this kind of financial commitment. The scholarships have helped tremendously in lightening the load. They’ve made it possible for several of my colleagues and me to come here. Without question, it’s so worth it. The U-M JCLP allows us to interact one-on-one with leaders of the organizations that we’re intending to work with when we graduate. We all have a shared and vested interest in seeing JCLP grow and succeed.”

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