Press Releases

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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MCAN Welcomes New AdviseMI Program Coordinator

AdviseMI expands program to help students get into college


June 16 - LANSING, Mich.
— Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) announced today that Joshua Kennedy will join the Community Investment Department as the new program coordinator for AdviseMI, which places recent college graduates into Michigan high schools to help students apply to and prepare for college.

Kennedy will work closely with AdviseMI co-directors Bristol Day and Jacque Ruhland to continue growing and strengthening AdviseMI, now in its second year. The program is gearing up to place 49 advisers from 16 colleges into 62 schools in the 2016-17 academic year. The advisers will be placed in communities with low college-going rates and low adult educational attainment rates as part of MCAN’s efforts to increase the number of students gaining additional training or degrees after high school.

“AdviseMI continues to gain momentum as we grow to expand the services we offer to students in Southeast Michigan,” said MCAN Executive Director Brandy Johnson. “With Joshua’s extensive background in college admissions and passion to help students pursue higher education, we know his expertise will be a great addition to this innovative program.”

As the AdviseMI program coordinator, Kennedy will supervise nine advisers in Southeast Michigan to support program grants compliance, recruitment and training logistics. His office will be located at Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA) in Taylor to enable him to work closely with the AdviseMI high school advisers. SEMCA aids the developing Wayne County College Access Network and serves as a partner with MCAN to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment in Wayne county.

Before joining MCAN, Kennedy worked for the Department for Student Success at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and was the senior undergraduate admissions advisor at Marygrove College in Detroit. He graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with bachelor degrees in Africana Studies and Urban Education. He currently is pursuing his master’s degree in criminal justice at Marygrove College. Josh is a Detroit native and graduated from Detroit Public Schools.

Kennedy can be reached at joshua(a)micollegeaccess.org or 734-229-3541.

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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
Deputy Director for Partnerships and Advocacy
Email: sarah(a)micollegeaccess.org
Cell: 313-355-4078

Download Press Release (PDF)

New Innovative Program Grant Available for College Access and Success Programs

Grants of up to $10,000 to direct service programs for innovative work will support the Big Goal

June 6 - LANSING, Mich. — Applications are now available for Innovative Program Grants aimed at benefiting programs that support increasing college readiness, enrollment and completion throughout Michigan. The grants are being offered by the Michigan College Access Network to help achieve its goal of increasing the percentage of Michigan residents with degrees or postsecondary certificates to 60 percent by the year 2025.

“These grants are intended to ensure that we improve postsecondary completion and readiness, because college truly is for everyone,” MCAN Executive Director Brandy Johnson said. “We encourage organizations and schools to join us in our effort to improve postsecondary attainment in communities across the state.” 

Innovative Program Grants are available until funding is depleted within the fiscal year, which ends September 30. The grants cover a period of 12 months from the award date.

Applicants can apply for up to $10,000 to support their postsecondary education program. Grants require 50 percent match funding. Of that amount, half can be in-kind and at least half must be cash. If desired by the grantee, MCAN staff can help consult on sustainability plans for programming. Innovative Program Grants are not intended for long-term or renewable funding.

Applications and programs that are associated with a Local College Access Network are preferred, since they provide a comprehensive approach to increasing postsecondary education within a community. Other organizations and programs are still eligible and encouraged to apply. 

For more information or to apply for the Innovative Program Grants, visit www.micollegeaccess.org/grants/innovative-programs-grant

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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, Deputy Director for Partnerships and Advocacy
Email: sarah(a)micollegeaccess.org
Office: 517-316-1713

Download press release (PDF)

MCAN Executive Director Named to 21st Century Education Commission

Governor Snyder names Brandy Johnson to commission preparing students for global economy 

May 31 - LANSING, Mich.− Governor Snyder recently named Brandy Johnson, Michigan College Access Network executive director, to the 21st Century Education Commission. The main focus of the commission is improving Michigan’s education system to better prepare students for a global economy and positioning Michigan as a national leader developing talent.

“As the first person in my family to graduate from college, I’m extremely honored to be named to the 21st Century Education Commission. The significance of joining this prestigious group is personal,” Johnson said. “Our top priority at MCAN is helping students prepare for the jobs of the future by furthering their postsecondary education, because we know a skilled and educated workforce will help Michigan reach its fullest potential. Together, I’m confident we can work toward meaningful change for Michigan.”

The 25-member commission will include individuals representing education, business, government and nonprofit communities who have a particular interest or expertise in education. Members will focus on how Michigan’s system of public education is organized, governed, funded and held accountable for successful education outcomes.

Membership consists of 16 gubernatorial appointees, four legislative appointees, the State Board of Education president or his designee and four state department directors or their representatives, including:

  • Alloyd Blackmon, Whirlpool executive
  • Dave Campbell, Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency and a former superintendent of the Livingston ESA and Olivet Community Schools
  • JoAnn Chavez, vice president DTE Energy
  • Roger Curtis, president of the Michigan International Speedway and former vice president of sales and marketing at California Speedway
  • Randy Davis, Superintendent of Marshall Public Schools
  • Dr. Thomas Haas, president of Grand Valley State University
  • Conway Jeffress, president of Schoolcraft College
  • Brandy Johnson, Michigan College Access Network executive director
  • Ann Kalass, president and CEO of Starfish Family Services
  • Doug Luciani, chief executive officer at TraverseCONNECT
  • Matt Oney, physics and chemistry teacher at Escanaba Area High School
  • Doug Ross, President of the American Promise Schools and a former state senator, Michigan Commerce director, and U.S. assistant secretary of labor
  • Cindy Schumacher, executive director of the Engler Center for Charter Schools at Central Michigan University
  • Kevin Stotts, president of Talent 2025
  • Teresa Weatherall-Neal, superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools
  • Eileen Weiser, board member of the State Board of Education
  • Stephen Cook, president of the Michigan Education Association
  • Nate Walker, K12 analyst for the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Michigan
  • Scott Hughes, majority council for the Michigan Senate
  • Peter Ruddell, partner at RWC Advocacy
  • Brian J. Whiston, State Superintendent
  • Nick A. Khouri, State Treasurer
  • David Behen, Director of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget
  • Stephanie Comai, Director of the Talent Investment Agency
  • John C. Austin, President of the State Board of Education

The commission will serve as an advisory committee within the Executive Office and will complete its assessment and issue a report by Nov. 30, 2016.

The full text of Executive Order 2016-6 is available here.

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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.  

Download Press Release (PDF)

 

200 High Schools across Michigan Celebrate College Decision Day

Third annual college decision day celebrates all seniors continuing their postsecondary education

April 26 - LANSING, Mich.− April 26 signals the kickoff of College Decision Day events across Michigan. More than 200 high schools across the state are recognizing high school seniors for making plans to continue their education beyond high school. College Decision Day is an annual event that mimics the NCAA's National Signing Day. The goal is to celebrate all seniors who are going to college while encouraging younger students and families to prepare for continuing their postsecondary education.

"College Decision Day celebrates every student and every path they choose to take, whether that's with a four-year institution or pursuing a high-quality credential," said Brandy Johnson, Michigan College Access Network executive director. "All students choosing a college deserve the same accolades as student athletes. We want every student's hard work and dedication recognized for making their postsecondary plans a reality."

Since 2014, the Michigan College Access Network has organized College Decision Day as a statewide event, an adaption of National College Signing Day, a program of the First Lady's Reach Higher initiative aimed to inspire every student across the country to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school.

Events in Michigan start today and run through the month of May. MCAN has made a map available of all College Decision Day events at micollegeaccess.org/decision-day-host-sites. To celebrate our seniors, people across the state are wearing college gear and sharing encouragement on social media. Show your #ReachHigher and #DecisionDay support by posting pictures wearing college gear from your alma mater and join the conversation on social media like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

This year, MCAN hosted a student blog contest to show how college is going to be a game changer. Five students were selected to have their entry featured on the MCAN blog and to receive a $25 gift card to Meijer or Amazon. View the first winning student blog entry here.

Michigan ranks among the national leaders in college readiness and enrollment among low-income students. Between 2008 and 2014, Michigan's college participation rate for students increased to 39.3 percent. Another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan's official attainment rate to 43.3 percent. MCAN's goal is to increase Michigan's postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the year 2025.

To learn more about Michigan's College Decision Day and the more than 200 high schools hosting events across the state, visit the Michigan College Access Network website at www.micollegeaccess.org/statewide-initiatives/college-decision-day.

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