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Michigan College Access Network Annual Conference

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On March 8th and 9th one of our Keys to College facilitators, Carla Wellborn, attended the 6th Annual MCAN Conference. The conference theme this year was “College Changes Everything” and focused on highlighting the impact post-secondary education makes in communities and personal lives. There was a total of 35 breakout sessions, and three keynote speakers that over 450 college access professionals and leaders attended.

Carla returned to Winning Futures to share all of her findings and new college tips in the Keys to College classrooms. The most memorable topics included: college affordability, workforce needs, and career/technical/trade skills education.

COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY: Students preparing for post-secondary education should research the expected salary for the career they plan on pursuing. Long-term, monthly loan repayment should not be more than 10% of their futures income.  Although private college may be more expensive, they often have better financial aid packages. Searching for scholarship opportunities is also key. A few great places to look include:

Students should plan to apply for college the summer before their senior year, or as soon as they receive their transcipts from 11th grade. Early applications usually get first priority into private scholarships. Most private schools award scholarships in the fall.

WORKFORCE NEEDS: 70% of jobs by the year 2020 will require college or career training. There are currently job openings in industries that are lacking talented, qualified employees. Some industries that are in high demand across the nation include: Healthcare, Advanced Manufacturing, and Information Technology.

CAREER, TECHNICAL, AND SKILLED TRADES EDUCATION: MCAN announced that their goal for Michigan is to have 60% of all adults to have post-secondary education degrees by 2025. At the conference they encouraged students to explore specific programs, rather than college types. Three programs that were highlighted include:

  • Michigan Advanced Technician Training Program – It allows students to receive on the job training with coursework in mechatronic technician, IT technician, IT technical product design, and CNC manufacturing.
  • MI College of Beauty – This cosmetology program has great retention and graduation rates.
  • Irene’s Myomassology– Is a nationally accredited institution that is committed to providing the best program in therapeutic massage available.

Lastly, keep in mind the following questions when looking at programs to apply to:

  • What are the first year retention rates?
  • What are the graduation rates?
  • What is the student-to-faculty ratio?

To learn more about MCAN, please visit: