The Office of Governor Whitmer announced a new department for the State of Michigan on July 12, 2023: the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP). The new department will be tasked with improving outcomes from preschool through postsecondary attainment.

“Michigan has unique challenges in dealing with the continuum of learning,” said PPA’s CEO, Rob Fowler. “First, our historical preference for ‘local control’ has made statewide coordination of policy difficult. We have also seen decades of decentralization and fragmentation of our education ecosystem from multiple governors and across departments and institutions. All of this has resulted in a system that is convoluted and does not behave as a system. Today’s announcement is a smart and important step in creating a system that will focus on learners from birth through adulthood.” 

Colleen Graber, PPA’s COO, who leads our work in early childhood care and education, noted that “Michigan has made huge strides in supporting its young learners and child care providers. Now, bringing resources together establishes a place from which to further innovate and to facilitate the quality learning so critical to a healthy population and healthy economy.”

Current PPA projects and partnerships address the three main goals of MiLEAP to:

  • Bringing increased capacity to foster readiness for kindergarten
  • Helping Michigan have 60 percent of its adult population with a postsecondary certificate or degree by 2030
  • Supporting student success through community, regional, and state level engagement

Over the past several years, PPA has worked with Michigan’s Office of Great Start and the Child Care Licensing Bureau on research partnerships exploring policy change effects on equitable access to child care by geography, race/ethnicity, and income level, as well as other projects. We look forward to continuing to work with these partners when they move to MiLEAP’s Office of Early Childhood Education. 

PPA has been a key convener of higher education policy organizations through its work with the Michigan Higher Education Attainment Roundtable (MIHEART). The new Office of Higher Education in MiLEAP will be able to lift up important work to develop Michigan’s talent, and we look forward to supporting those efforts as needed.

PPA’s work in support of out-of-school time partnerships is evident in our support of the Michigan Afterschool Partnership (MASP). PPA has been instrumental in bringing to light stark disparities that exist across our state in our underserved communities. We look forward to continuing our support of education partnerships.