The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo was launched in 2011 as a collaborative effort to get every child in Kalamazoo County ready for school, college and beyond.
The people in charge of the three different networks spoke with WMUK's Gordon Evans. Jackie Eatmon is the convener is the kindergarten readiness action network, Brenda Pickett convenes the college and career readiness network. Michael Evans is convener of the adult learning action network.
Over the last couple of years, Evans says enlisting several agencies to work together has helped accomplish more than would have been possible with all of those agencies working by themselves. Pickett says one example of collaboration is holding events that help students with student aid forms to pay for college. Eatmon says part of the idea is to make it easier for parents to find services for their children.
One goal of launching the network was to improve coordination among different services in the Kalamazoo area. All three agree that has happened since 2011.
All three guests say a lot has been accomplished since the Learning Network's Launch in 2011. But they say there is more to be done.
Pickett says a focus in the near future will be "college persistence." In other words, helping students stay in college and complete degree programs. Evans says he hopes more adult learners can be helped. He says there are many more adults who need further education in Southwest Michigan. Eatmon says help is needed for parents who have to navigate a maze of confusing forms and requirements. She says some changes have been made to make applications simpler.