Michigan education leaders determine next steps to improve college attainment

“Reaching for Opportunity Regional Briefing” to push for education beyond high school 

June 29, 2016 - LANSING, Mich.— Last year,leaders from education, business, and government came together to release a report dubbed “Reaching for Opportunity: An Action Plan to Increase Michigan’s Postsecondary Credential Attainment” for Michigan residents to achieve the necessary education and training beyond high school to compete for the jobs of the 21st Century. The Reaching for Opportunity Regional Briefing convened on Wednesday with leaders from across the Capital Region to provide a briefing of the Reaching for Opportunity report and to analyze local data to determine regionally appropriate strategies to drive postsecondary educational attainment. In order to meet the needs of state employers, Michigan needs 779,000 more citizens with education beyond high school by 2025, according to the report.

Key stakeholders and education officials reviewed current trends in the report, which was released in December 2015. They also discussed the intersection between college attainment and economic development.

“The report outlines a direct connection between post-high school education and our state’s economic growth,”said John Austin, President of the Michigan State Board of Education. “It’s time to foster an important conversation about how to bridge the gap between the report’s findings, and making those recommendations a reality. We know the jobs highest in demand require technical certificates or college degrees. Postsecondary educational attainment will result in competitive advantages in the workplace, increased opportunity and higher incomes for Michiganders.”

The report outlined challenges that must be addressed, including:

  • Increasing the number of high school counselors and college advisers.
  • Encouraging more Michigan high school students to obtain college credits while still in high school through early college or CTE programs. 
  • Creating an Adult Training Scholarship to re-engage the 25 percent of Michigan adults with some education past high school, but no degree.
  • Streamlining credit transfers to help more students move from community colleges to four year universities and colleges.

“This report identified problems, but more importantly effective solutions we need to be implementing as a state,” said Brandy Johnson, executive director of the Michigan College Access Network. “We hope to build a strong coalition of leaders, both at the state and regional levels, to join the movement to make sure more of Michiganders have the skills and education necessary to compete for the jobs of tomorrow.”.”

The report can be downloaded at www.mitalentgoal2025.org.

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About Michigan College Access Network

As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN’s mission is to increase Michigan’s college readiness, participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college going students, and students of color. For the sixth year in a row, Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate has increased — from 35.7 percent of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree in 2008, to 39.3 percent in 2014. Additionally, it is estimated another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 43.3 percent. It is MCAN’s goal to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the year 2025. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org.  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact:
Sarah Anthony
Email: sarah(a)micollegeaccess.org
Cell: 313-355-4078

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