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Michigan Launches New Education Department, Consolidates Education Programs

The state of Michigan has launched a new education department, which aims to consolidate early childhood and post-secondary education programs, the Detroit Free Press reported.Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGov. Gretchen WhitmerABC News

The Michigan Lifelong Education, Advancement and Potential (MiLEAP) department – created by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s controversial executive order in July – will have three offices, for early childhood education, higher education, and education partnerships.

It will not replace Michigan State Board of Education (MDE). Rather, Whitmer wants the two organizations to work together. MiLEAP will also take over scholarship programs from the Department of Treasury.

Michelle Richard, former senior education adviser to Whitmer, is acting director for MiLEAP. The department has more than 300 staff from four different state departments.

"Every Michigander deserves a path to 'make it in Michigan' with strong, lifelong learning support and a path to a good job, but for too long, we have thought of education as just K-12," Whitmer said in a statement. "We know that’s not good enough, which is why MiLEAP will tackle bold goals like expanding access to pre-K for all 4-year-olds, offering more affordable paths after graduation to get a higher education or skills training, and forging strong partnerships with our employers so they can get a good-paying, family-sustaining job."

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