The Michigan College Access Network
welcomed two new employees to their team based in Lansing, Mich., to help increase college readiness, participation and completion of postsecondary degrees among the state's residents.
Michigan State University alumnae Emma Walter will serve as MCAN's operations assistant, while Central Michigan University alumnae Melissa Steward will serve as MCAN's director of AdviseMI. The program partners with 16 Michigan colleges and universities and has helped train nearly 50 college advisers to help students explore, apply and prepare for college.
Sarah Anthony, MCAN's deputy director for partnerships and advocacy, says the two new additions to staff reflect the exponential growth curve of the nonprofit focused on college access and success. Founded in 2010, the organization has grown from two staff in a downtown Lansing office to 75 employees working across the state. Nine employees work in the central MCAN office at 220 N. Chestnut Street.
"We have a lot of work to do to reach our goal," says Anthony. "That's why we've scaled so quickly."
Considered a leader in the college access movement, MCAN's goal is to increase Michigan's postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the end of 2025. While bold, Anthony admits, it's an attainable goal. For the sixth consecutive year, the state's postsecondary educational attainment rate has increased—from 25.7 percent of 25-to-64 year olds having at least an associate degree in 2008, to 39.3 percent in 2014. Another 4 percent of Michigan residents have a high-quality certificate, bringing the state's current attainment rate to 43.3 percent.
A large focus of MCAN, Anthony says, is to improve college readiness and completion among low-income students, first-generation college students, and students of color. And while data shows that a majority of 21st
century jobs will require a skills, degree or credential, Anthony says some still believe it's possible to walk out of high school and into a decent job.
"When you look at the needs coming down the pike in the next handful of years, it's critical that Michigan graduates are well-positioned and have college skills and credentials," Anthony says. "Culture shifts are happening. We don't want to be leaving people behind."
Source: Sarah Anthony, Deputy Director for Partnerships, Michigan College Access Network
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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