LANSING, Mich. — Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) has awarded Otsego College Access Network a $60,000 Implementation Grant to be used over the next two years. This grant will support OCAN’s efforts to increase the number of Otsego county residents who enroll in and complete postsecondary education, especially low-income students.

OCAN’s work extends across a wide range of organizations in Otsego County — from schools and higher education to business and government to philanthropy and nonprofit sectors — seeking to enhance residents’ access and success in attaining advanced training and education. OCAN works to ensure that today’s youth and working-age adults have the skills needed to succeed in our current and future workforce. OCAN is one of 24 local college access networks throughout Michigan.

“OCAN is playing a key role in helping to build a college-going culture and dramatically increase college readiness, participation and completion rates in Otsego County,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, MCAN executive director. “We are proud to support OCAN’s efforts in expanding residents’ access to educational opportunities so that they can have a brighter economic future. For our present and future economy, it is critical that we work together to ensure that every student in Michigan has the opportunity to attend college — especially low-income students, first-generation college-going students and students of color.”

The grant funding will allow OCAN to develop cross-sector strategies that address the access, knowledge and financial barriers that many prospective students face as they pursue certificate programs and two- and four-year college degrees.

“Receiving an MCAN Implementation Grant creates a pathway for OCAN to establish meaningful and effective programs that are designed to increase higher education opportunities for the people in Otsego County,” said Brian Pearson, OCAN coordinator. “Our county presently lags behind the state and national averages for college attainment rates, and this funding allows us to address higher education enrollment and attainment challenges at their source. Breaking down the barriers to college access and success in our community will undoubtedly make a significant, positive difference for each and every resident, business and school in Otsego County.”

Communities that receive Implementation Grant funding from MCAN have successfully established a local college access network led by a cross-sector leadership team representing K-12, higher education, business, government, philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. During the two-year Implementation Grant, the network develops and executes a collaborative, data-driven strategic action plan focused on priority areas determined by the leadership team.

For questions about LCANs and Implementation Grant opportunities, contact Jamie Jacobs, MCAN deputy director.