National College Access Network Hosts Conference in Detroit

College access professionals meet in Michigan to discuss postsecondary attainment

Sept. 20, 2016 - LANSING, Mich.The National College Access Network (NCAN) held its annual conference this week at the Renaissance Center in Detroit. The event is the largest of its kind in the country and brought more than 1,000 college access professionals together to discuss strategies to increase postsecondary attainment. The conference sessions focused on showcasing successful college access strategies with experts and professionals from throughout the nation.

“We’re committed to moving the needle in our state to increase college attainment and are honored NCAN chose to host its conference in Michigan,” said Brandy Johnson, executive director, Michigan College Access Network. “We’re excited to share our experiences with education professionals and learn more about the college access methods that are working in other states.”

The three-day event hosted by the National College Access Network highlighted many distinguished speakers, including:

  • Jaime Casap, chief education evangelist, Google, who spoke about technology, education and innovation.

  • Tonya Allen, president and CEO, Skillman Foundation, who outlined Detroit’s plan to increase educational attainment.

  • Michael Middleton, interim president, University of Missouri System, who discussed equity and access in higher education.

  • Carol D’Amico, Lisa Katz and the Honorable Sandy Baruah, who highlighted how employers, government and nonprofits can collaborate to solve the mismatch of available skills and employer needs.

There also were a number of effective practice workshop sessions that included: engaging parents through text messages, mobilizing cohesive state policy agenda, sharing solutions for student success and tips and tools to encourage students to think about paying for college.

“Increasing postsecondary attainment isn’t a one-size fits all approach. It’s about collaboration and implementing best practices from other states that help arm professionals with tools and strategies to make a difference in the lives of students,” said Johnson.

For more information on the NCAN National Conference, please visit


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  

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