Michigan Center for Adult College Success
Collaborate. Innovate. Transform.
Welcome to the Michigan Center for Adult College Success, Michigan's primary resources for increasing adult enrollment and completion of credentials.
As an initiative of TalentFirst, the Center was created by the state of Michigan to meet the statewide need for a skilled workforce by increasing the number of adults obtaining postsecondary credentials. These credentials open the door to good-paying jobs, allowing more Michiganders to build better lives for themselves and their families.
Why This Is Needed
Michigan has an aging population and declining birth rate. Its residents have lower levels of education and skills compared to neighboring states and the nation overall. With over 350,000 job openings, many requiring a postsecondary credential, upskilling Michigan’s adult population must be a priority.
Recognizing these hard truths, business, education and state leaders came together to create the Michigan Center for Adult College Success. By leveraging the collaborative, data-driven approach of TalentFirst, the Center will serve as the state’s primary resource for research, support and best practices on increasing adult enrollment and completion of credentials.
What We Do
The Michigan Center for Adult College Success will help tailor best practices for increasing adult enrollment and completion by partnering with postsecondary institutions across Michigan. The Center will provide a data-driven, objective perspective on what actually works. Through resources on our website, regional conversations, and statewide symposiums, the Center will share insights on how to effectively implement the best practices that meet the needs of the adults at postsecondary institutions. We do this by:
The challenges facing adult learners are complex and require solutions that involve multiple partners. The Center is focused on building relationships with and between postsecondary institutions, employers, nonprofits and state government to help address the barriers adults face, from enrollment to credential completion.
The Center will work with our partners using a data-driven approach to critically evaluate programs and processes designed to boost adult enrollment and credential completion. Additionally, the Center will review and evaluate best practices from outside Michigan to provide expertise on what may work at Michigan institutions to achieve these goals.
A key pillar of the Center’s activities will be investing in institutions that are able to implement or pilot best practices. The Center has over $7 million in grant funding that will be awarded throughout 2023 and 2024.
These Innovation Investment Awards are designed to spur process improvements and programs to better serve the adult population. The Center will act as a partner in these investments to bring technical assistance and expertise, as well as evaluate the programs to determine impact and improve effectiveness.
Tailoring and Adding Value to Best Practices
Through a combination of online resources and direct support, the Center will assist postsecondary institutions on tailoring and implementing potential best practices within their institutions. The Center will be focused on taking best practice models in Michigan and from across the nation and finding ways to effectively incorporate them into the Michigan experience. As part of this work, the Center will be aggressively working to develop a better understanding of the needs and challenges of adult learners in Michigan and at individual institutions.
Supporting the State’s Investment in Postsecondary Education
The Center also has a statutory responsibility to work in partnership with Michigan’s community colleges to increase the success of students utilizing the state’s tuition support program for adult learners, Michigan Reconnect. Numerous best practices were enshrined in statute as part of the Reconnect program and the Center will collaborate with community colleges to assist in implementing the best practices in their institutions.
Promoting What Works
Michigan’s uniquely decentralized postsecondary system allows for a lot of independence and creativity, but it also increases the need for information sharing. The Center will play a pivotal role in bringing together stakeholders to share experiences and promote best practices to increasing adult enrollment and completion through regional conversations and statewide events.
Our Promise to Michigan
We will work to increase Michigan’s rate of postsecondary attainment, because it is critical to the economic and social success of the state, our employers, our educational institutions, and everyone who lives and works here.
Our Promise to: Adults Without a Postsecondary Credential
More and more, jobs that provide an income where you can live out the American Dream require some level of postsecondary credential. If you want to boost your income or simply work in a new field you are passionate about, the Center will be partnering with postsecondary institutions, employers and others to make it easier to get your credential by helping address barriers adult learners face. We will work with these institutions to make sure your voice is heard on how to best serve you as you juggle the demands of life – work schedule, child care and family obligations, reliable transportation – while trying to obtain a postsecondary credential.
Our Promise to: Community Colleges & Universities
The Center will partner with institutions that want to increase enrollment, persistence, and completion of adult learners. We will provide research on trends and best practices, grants to test or scale innovative concepts, evaluation of promising models, and leadership to engage the public and private sector to achieve the state’s education attainment goals. The Center also has over $7,000,000 in Innovation Investment Awards available to help postsecondary institutions improve their systems and processes to serve adult students. The Center is intentionally designed to assist community colleges to achieve the performance goals for the Michigan Reconnect program.
Our Promise to: Employers
To develop the talent that meets your needs, we will ensure that the voice and needs of employers are represented in the design of innovative solutions to help adult learners complete their credential. There is far too much leakage in our talent pipeline when it comes to adult students. Your participation can help build a stronger process that leads to a more skilled and diverse talent pool to meet your talent needs.
Our Promise to: State Government
The state has made over $500 million in investments in to increase access to postsecondary credentials. While investments like the Reconnect and Future for Frontliners programs help address some of the financial burdens adult learners face, that is only one piece of the puzzle. To get the best outcomes from these investments, the Center will work with our partners to boost credential completion. By helping more adults without a postsecondary credential obtain one and get a better paying job, we will help decrease the strain on Michigan’s social safety net programs and generate increased tax revenue.
Additionally, the Center will provide the data, research, insights, and solutions to help policymakers ensure Michiganders have the postsecondary education and skills to thrive, employers have the workforce to compete globally, and Michigan’s post-secondary providers are among the best in the nation in educating and training adults.