LANSING, Mich. — Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) has awarded $50,000 in Innovative Program Grants to five grantees across the state to fund college access and success work. Four County Community Foundation, Henry Ford Health, Northwest High School, University Prep Schools and Washtenaw Educational Metrics Institute each received a $10,000 grant.

Innovative Program Grants fund initiatives that increase college readiness, enrollment and completion in communities across the state through grants of up to $10,000 over the course of 12 months. Organizations that receive an Innovative Program Grant must demonstrate how its new programming works to remove barriers to student success and help push the needle on Michigan’s Sixty by 30 attainment goal.

“Organizations that serve low-income students, first-generation college-going students, and students of color are vital to our work to reach Sixty by 30. MCAN is proud to support the work of these five grantees,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, MCAN executive director. “The college access movement is about more than getting students into college, and these grantees are leading the charge in helping students persist and complete their degrees.”

Quotes from the grantees:

Kathy Dickens, executive director of Four County Community Foundation (Almont, Mich.)

“Our Four County Return to Earn Internship program welcomes local high school graduates back to the community in the summer of their college years to gain relevant paid career experience where they grew up. This grant from MCAN placed 10 interns in relevant paid career placements in their home communities, and Four County Community Foundation is so thankful for this investment.”

Martina Caldwell, M.D., medical director of diversity and inclusion at Henry Ford Health (Detroit, Mich.)

“We deeply appreciate the partnership and support from MCAN, which is allowing us to advance our mission to positively contribute to the academic and career success of Detroit's youth. This Summer Pathways Program is one of a number of initiatives Henry Ford Health is leading to create opportunities for learners from underrepresented and structurally vulnerable groups to grow into careers in healthcare.”

Randi Watts, teacher at Northwest High School (Jackson, Mich.)

“I am very excited to have this available for our students as they research their future careers. Northwest High School will be using its grant to purchase virtual reality goggles for students to use as a way of exploring different careers in the early years of high school. The grant will also fund a Teachers in Industry program which will enable educators to share information with their students about job shadow, externship and dual enrollment opportunities available to them in their community.”

John Johnson, director of postsecondary and alumni affairs at University Prep Schools (Detroit, Mich.)

“Our Return to Learn program seeks to engage both our alumni and our parents to connect them with postsecondary credentials. We will partner with Focus Hope, Henry Ford College, DCAN, Detroit Reconnect and Grow with Google to provide our constituents with certifications that will lead to good paying jobs.”

Lefiest Galimore, co-founder of Washtenaw Educational Metrics Institute (Ann Arbor, Mich.)

“The grant we received from MCAN on behalf of the Washtenaw Educational Metrics Institute will enable us to proceed with the development of our postsecondary educational services to our youth. Not only will this grant be helpful, but being able to utilize other resources offered by MCAN has been a blessing and we hope to be able to continue that relationship.”