4-H: Connecting youth with their futures in Calhoun County

Learn more about the collaborative efforts of Michigan 4-H and the Michigan College Access Network in Calhoun County to prepare youth for entrance into college.

The Calhoun County 4-H program is committed to preparing our youth for the workforce through educational efforts that are fundamental to creating and embracing future jobs. For the past three years, the Calhoun County 4-H program has been involved with the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) in the Albion community. The MCAN’s mission is to increase the college participation and completion rate, in particular among low-income students, first generation college students and students of color. Currently, 36 percent of Michigan residents have earned college degrees or high-quality credentials. The goal of MCAN is to increase the number of Michigan residents with college degrees or high-quality credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025.

The Greater Albion College Access is a community-based network of professionals united to maximize local resources and leverage outside resources to assist youth to graduate and increase post-secondary education attainment levels so that they are prepared to enter the workforce.

Locally, the 4-H program as part of the Greater Albion College Access has provided the leadership to several college visitations which included Siena Heights and Adrian College. The students took a tour of both college campuses and were given presentations on how to prepare for college admissions, advice on how to finance their education and information about the extracurricular activities offered by the institutes. For many of the students, this trip was the first time they had ever been on a college campus. The students discussed which college they liked and for what reasons on their trip back home.

Another way we exposed young people to college was at 4-H Exploration Days at Michigan State University (MSU). They learned to navigate through dormitory and campus life. They stepped outside of their comfort zone, intermingling with several thousand youth from diverse backgrounds and communities. These young people also learned responsibility, time management and how to follow direction, as well as picking up skills in the educational sessions that they participated in.

Although these are just a few examples of the collaboration between the Calhoun County 4-H program and the Greater Albion College Access, the Michigan College Access Network is a great initiative that supports local communities with resources and matching monetary support. The local 4-H Programs across the state have an opportunity to align 4-H resources within their communities and other locally-based consortiums, both in the public and private sector to connect young people to their future. For more information about the Michigan College Access Network in your community, visit the organization’s website.

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