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Partner Perspective:
Q&A with CaCAN's Brenda Pickett

Brenda Pickett is coordinator of the College and Career Access Network at KRESA, and convener of The Learning Network’s College and Career Action Network.

Don’t our high schools prepare students for college and career success?

This work requires vast resources beyond school. And yes, many organizations already provide this. Part of CaCAN’s goal is to assure that existing resources achieve the utmost results — and where gaps or opportunities exist, help identify and implement improvements.

How do we know that CaCAN’s efforts are working?

We know how many students enter college their first year after high school, persist from year one to two, and receive certificates or degrees. By Oct. 1, 2017, our goal is to increase the number of high school graduates who enroll in college or post-secondary institutions from 72 to 82 percent.

How do you address those who say “college just isn’t for everyone?”

We use “college” for any valuable postsecondary credentialing beyond high school. For individuals to compete in the labor force — earn a living wage, support themselves and their families, and develop personally and professionally   — education beyond high school is no longer an option, it is a necessity.

How will the community look different because of CaCAN?

The number of Kalamazoo County residents with degrees will be at 60 percent by 2025. Currently, it is at 36.4 percent in Michigan. As a result, we’ll have a highly educated workforce, enabling business and the community to thrive.