MCAN applauds Gov. Whitmer’s efforts to reframe Michigan’s workforce and economic development

The following statement is from Ryan Fewins-Bliss, interim executive director of the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN), in response to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signing an order transforming the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development (TED) into the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO).                                                

“By consolidating workforce development functions and creating new commissions within LEO, Gov. Whitmer has strategically improved how Michigan approaches talent and economic development,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, interim executive director of the Michigan College Access Network. “Gov. Whitmer understands that education, a talented workforce and a thriving economy are all intrinsically related and MCAN supports her efforts to ensure Michigan has the competitive edge needed to sustain talent in our state. Gov. Whitmer’s vision for the state reflects MCAN’s mission and vision, and we will continue fostering a college-going culture in the state with our strategic partners, including MIHEART (Michigan Higher Education Attainment Roundtable), a broad coalition of business, military, law enforcement, philanthropic, education and government leaders who are dedicated to drawing attention to talent attainment.  We continue to support the Governor’s 60% by 2030 postsecondary attainment goal.  We are confident in the abilities of LEO Incoming Director Jeff Donofrio and we look forward to working with him on increasing talent in Michigan.”


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 eighth 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 41 percent in 2018. Additionally, it is estimated another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 45 percent as of 2019.  For more information, visit

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