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Interviews with news makers and discussion of topics important to Southwest Michigan. Subscribe to the podcast through Apple itunes and Google. Segments of interview are heard in WestSouthwest Brief during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

WSW: The Center for Michigan Asks How to Make College Better


The Center for Michigan found that people around the state want more career counseling and college advising. They also would like more ways for students to get hands on experience while still in school. 

The Center held a series of “community conversations” around the state. They also conducted telephone polls and other surveys. The results ended up in their report Getting to Work: The Public’s Agenda for Improving Career Navigation, College Affordability and Upward Mobility in Michigan. The Center for Michigan’s Outreach Coordinator Dwayne Barnes spoke with WMUK’s Gordon Evans about the findings.

Barnes says the idea for a report came from their previous survey on Michigan’s priorities ahead of last year’s election. He says jobs, education, college affordability and upward mobility topped the list. There was broad consensus that career counseling and college advising need to be improved. Barnes that was not a criticism of people who do that work currently. But he says parents and students would like to see more help in exploring their options for after high school. 

Interview with Dwayne Barnes - web version

To make college more affordable, Barnes says the respondents want more investment from the state in higher education. But he says they also want to see colleges and universities become more efficient and cut costs. Barnes says parents and students want more options for earning college credit while they are in school. He says that can include programs like dual enrollment. Barnes says there is also a desire for opportunities to get hands-on work training such as paid internships. He says those can help students learn how to be accountable and professional.

Asked about people’s willingness to pay higher taxes for more services, Barnes says there is not broad consensus for raising or cutting taxes. He says that’s similar to what the Center for Michigan Found when they surveyed people on their priorities ahead of last year’s election “They believe that there is enough money in the budget, they just want to see some reallocation.”

Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.
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