Learning Network funding supports College and Career Action Network
The College and Career Action Network (CACAN) has
received a grant for $171,784 from The Learning Network of Greater
Kalamazoo supporting operational efforts through September 2014.
This is the second operational grant to support LNGK action networks.
The Adult Learning Action Network received a grant in November 2013.
CACAN’s goal is to get more students from Kalamazoo County to attend
and graduate from college. It focuses particular attention on helping
students who are the first generation in their family to attend college,
students of color and those from low-income families. CACAN uses the
term “college” for any post-high school institution that offers
certificates or other credentialed training and prepares students for a
career, including two- and four-year academic degrees.
“We think of CACAN as wrapping our community’s collective arms around
these students,” says CACAN director Brenda Pickett. “We help them
recognize the value of a college education and we offer tools and
support to help them succeed there.”
Currently, according to KRESA, 72 percent of Kalamazoo County high
school graduates enroll in higher education after graduation. CACAN
hopes to push that number to 82 percent by 2017. The network has
identified three key measurements that drive college enrollment in
Kalamazoo County: students who complete the Free Application for Federal
Student Aid (FAFSA), those who apply for Michigan’s Tuition Incentive
Program (TIP) and ACT scores.
“Research shows that students who complete FAFSA forms are more
likely to enroll in college,” says Pickett. “Similarly, ACT scores are a
strong predictor of college success.”
CACAN, like each of The Learning Network’s action networks and
programs, strives not to duplicate local efforts, but to ensure that
existing resources achieve the greatest results by addressing gaps and
“Our TIP goal is a good example of this,” says Pickett.
“Participation removes a financial barrier, with funding already in
place for qualifying students. Yet when asked,98 percent of Kalamazoo
County’s eligible students didn’t know they qualified. CACAN works with
existing programs and agencies now to ensure that all qualifying county
students can take advantage of this amazing opportunity.”
History of CACAN
CACAN began as a Michigan Local College Access Network (MCAN) in
2010. There are currently 51 such organizations throughout the state
(known as LCANs). The overall goal of each is the same — more students
to and through college, with a particular emphasis on first-generation
college families. How that occurs and how success is measured differs
with each community.
CACAN continues to receive some state support along with its
operational grant from The Learning Network. It also has received
additional grants for specific program activities. This approach
stretches each dollar contributed, leveraging financial support to
achieve an outcome greater than that made possible through any single
“Kalamazoo County is fortunate to have many individuals
and organizations actively working to help high school students
succeed, graduate and then have a positive college experience.
helps coordinate these collective resources toward a specific and
goal. Ultimately the students benefit, but so does our community.”
Brenda Pickett | CACAN Convener