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Community College Month: Strategizing Success for Every Student

Photo of a community college building

April is Community College Month — #CCMonth if you’re following along on social media — a time to recognize the value of community colleges in offering affordable and flexible educational opportunities across the state of Michigan.

At the Michigan Community College Association, it’s our mission to empower Michigan’s 31 community and tribal colleges to lead in the areas of student success, talent development, and community vitality. We advocate for strategies that help Michigan move toward Sixty by 30 — 60 percent of residents achieving a certificate or college degree by 2030. Stimulating local economic growth while helping students meet their education and career goals to achieve well-paying jobs that keep them in Michigan is critical to prosperity for our great state.

Success looks different for everyone, and there are countless paths a postsecondary education can take. This month, we’re celebrating the first students to receive the game-changing Michigan Achievement Scholarship and students who have transferred from Michigan’s community colleges and earned their bachelor’s degree. We’re excited for students who found a rewarding career through an apprenticeship or employer partnership at their local community college. We celebrate students who remain enrolled through hardships and life events that can take them off course. 

One huge success we’re recognizing is the number of Michiganders who have reconnected with their education to earn a degree or certificate — more than 4,000 last year between the ages of 21-24, and more than 32,000 over the age of 25! The state’s investment in Michigan Reconnect is paying dividends for local economies as Reconnecters help fill vital talent voids.

While we celebrate each of these successes, we’re also focused on identifying strategies to better support all students.


Modern Strategies for Student Success

The Michigan Center for Student Success provides support to Michigan’s community colleges by connecting leadership, administrators, faculty, and staff in efforts to improve equitable student outcomes.

Strategizing how to help students succeed is based, in part, on what we know about community college student demographics:

  • One third of enrollees are first-generation college students
  • 13 percent are single parents
  • 8 percent are non-U.S. citizens

And on the barriers to success they are facing:

  • 42 percent of community college students experience food insecurity
  • 54 percent experience housing insecurity
  • 45 percent experience mental health problems

With the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential, MCCA has joined a new Student Basic Needs Task Force to help reduce barriers specifically faced by low-income students and improve their access to services. 

Another powerful way MCCA is working to increase student success is through our new Professional Learning Space — a one-stop shop for Student Success Advocates. This online space hosts a wealth of resources and tailored lessons aimed at addressing the key areas that matter most to community college professionals. 

The learning space consists of 5 main modules:

Gateway Course Success — Supporting equitable completion of college-level math and English

Transfer — Encourage development of relationships between college and universities to improve transfer student outcomes

Student Basic Needs — Expand strategies to connect students with public benefits and community resources

Career Exploration — Support college personnel in efforts to help student explore careers and complete programs

Data Discovery for Workforce Programs — Aids college staff in utilizing data to improve labor market results in key workforce programs

Our diverse modules cover a wide range of subjects, providing you with valuable knowledge and effective strategies to meet your students' unique needs. There’s no need to take every lesson – though you can earn a certificate for each module you complete! 

Explore the modules at

For more information on student success initiatives, contact Precious Miller.


Advocacy Wish List

Michigan has made huge strides in reducing financial barriers to postsecondary education, but gaps still exist. Here’s a shortlist of what we’ll be advocating for when we meet with lawmakers later this month:

  • Expand the Michigan Achievement Scholarship with creation of the Community College Guarantee, covering last dollar tuition costs so that high school graduates in Michigan who want to enroll at a community college can do so tuition-free.
  • Make the Reconnect expansion to age 21 permanent.
  • Ongoing funding increases to ensure colleges can keep up with inflation and industry needs, such as ever-changing technologies and course offerings.

If you can’t join us for Advocacy Day on April 24, try out our new social media tool for Community College Month that allows you to share and repost content with one easy click.

Community colleges make success achievable for everyone. The flexibility and adaptability offered is unmatched. It’s our job at MCCA to bolster strategies for community colleges to serve and support their students and communities, ultimately leading to a more prosperous state for everyone. For more information, visit


Brandy Johnson is president of the Michigan Community College Association and was the founding executive director of Michigan College Access Network.

Short Description

April is Community College Month — #CCMonth if you’re following along on social media — a time to recognize the value of community colleges in offering affordable and flexible educational opportunities across the state of Michigan.