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MCAN responds to the creation of MiLEAP

The Michigan capitol building

LANSING, Mich. — Earlier today, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order establishing the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential, or MiLEAP. This move will consolidate the state’s work in early childhood and postsecondary education, adding capacity in these crucial sectors and accelerating progress towards the state’s Sixty by 30 attainment goal.

Statement from Michigan College Access Network Executive Director Ryan Fewins-Bliss:

“The establishment of the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential will improve the efficiency and alignment of the state’s education efforts from preschool to postsecondary, building momentum toward Sixty by 30 and helping more Michiganders reach their full potential.

“In MCAN’s work with key partners in state government, we have seen firsthand the disconnect in data sharing, communication and prioritization while coordinating efforts with multiple offices across multiple departments, leaving passionate state employees hampered by their own systems. Centralizing the state’s postsecondary education work into one department will help ensure funding and resources are directed equitably and efficiently to communities where they are most needed.

“The creation of this department reduces bureaucracy and creates more room for collaboration, which will benefit students and families. It consolidates the state’s higher education work, making it easier for schools and colleges to access programs and supports, while keeping intact the autonomy afforded to our public universities and community colleges by the Michigan Constitution.

“MCAN has recognized the need for greater alignment of the K-12, postsecondary education, and workforce sectors. Last year, we released the Strategy for an Educated Workforce, a three-year blueprint for improving cross-sector alignment and creating an education system that prepares students for fulfilling careers. Our young Michiganders have big dreams, and they deserve an educational system that helps them find the pathways to get there and gives them the resources to traverse them. As we continue to build coalitions and implement data-informed, equity-driven strategies, we look forward to working with MiLEAP to tackle vital systems change work and create a brighter future for all Michigan students, especially low-income students, first-generation college-going students and students of color.”

New state department will provide space for collaboration, alignment in pursuit of Sixty by 30