Reaching for Opportunity

Earlier this week, MCAN, along with the Michigan Postsecondary Attainment Workgroup - a coalition of K-12 and higher education groups, foundations, business leaders, the governor's office and legislators - participated in the release of a new report with crucial insight to boosting postsecondary credentials in Michigan to 60 percent by 2025. The report, Reaching for Opportunity: An Action Plan to Increase Michigan's Postsecondary Credential Attainment, outlines the challenges and opportunities along with recommendations for strategic actions and policies to increase credential attainment, necessary to succeed in Michigan's growing economy.

Reaching for Opp press conf

MCAN joined John Austin, State Board President who emceed the press conference, along with: Dan Phelan, president of Jackson College, Daniel Hurley, CEO, Michigan Association of State Universities, Robert Lefevre, President, Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities, Dan DeGrow, chair of Michigan College Access Network, Senator Tonya Schuitmaker, Representative Sam Singh and Tim Sowton, with Business Leaders for Michigan.

Michigan needs 779,000 more citizens with education beyond high school by 2025 to meet the needs of state employers, according to the new report that includes a detailed action plan to achieve the goal of boosting the number of employees with postsecondary credentials. This includes college degrees, graduate degrees and technical certificates and we need to grow this from 46 percent today to 60 percent by 2025. Michigan can't compete unless its residents are ready for today's knowledge-based jobs.


The report lays out a series of challenges that must be overcome to achieve its goals – and solutions to those challenges. Among them:

  • Because too many students are receiving inadequate advice during high school and college, the report proposes increasing the number of school counselors and college advisers while also providing them high-quality professional development.
  • Because Michigan students are less likely to obtain college credits while in high school than the national average (just 11 percent), the report calls for high schools and higher education institutions to adjust the policies and increase financial incentives to boost that number.
  • Because many low-income and minority students fail to complete their credential due to financial difficulties, the report calls for an increase in state-provided need-based financial aid.
  • Because we need to help more students move from community colleges to four year universities and colleges, the report calls for additional work to streamline credit transfer.

You can learn more at

Brandy Johnson headshot 2013Author: Brandy Johnson, MCAN executive director
Posted: Dec. 2, 2015

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