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Local AmeriCorps positions meet student needs

The Foundation & Oceana CAN! (College Access Network) welcomes AmeriCorps members Antoinette Welch and Danielle Siegel, who will work directly with students and the community to increase education attainment for Oceana County. Oceana CAN!’s goal is to ensure that all students pursue and complete education and training beyond high school as a means to help alleviate poverty, develop global competitiveness within our local workforce, and build and sustain a vibrant economy.

Siegel was hired by host site partner, Community Foundation for Oceana County, and will split her time between the Foundation’s Read Early, Read Often initiative and the Oceana CAN! The Foundation has successfully served the community for 28 years to enhance the lives of the people of Oceana County by leading, promoting and channeling philanthropy to connect resources with needs. The Foundation also provides fiscal oversight, grant administration and leadership for Oceana CAN!

Siegel is a native of Shelby and graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor’s in Sociology from Grand Valley Statue University. She has worked in early childhood education and family social work, and for the past two years, has served in the Peace Corps as a preschool teacher in Burkina Faso.  Aside from teaching, Danielle worked on other community and youth development projects, including English classes, tree planting, grant writing, youth camps, health projects, and more! “I am so excited to bring my knowledge and experiences back to Oceana County.  From early literacy to college access, education is the key and children and students our future.  The advancement of these two programs will be a huge step forward for our community,” said Siegel.

“We look forward to the enthusiasm and experience that Danielle will bring as Coordinator of the Read Early Read Often early literacy initiative and coordinating mentoring and career exploration opportunities for high school students with Oceana CAN!” said Foundation Executive Director Tammy Carey.

Antoinette Welch, a Ferris State University grad with a degree in social work, will be serving as the new College Adviser at Hart and Shelby schools with Advise MI AmeriCorps for the 2017-18 school year. She chose to become a college adviser because “the youth is our future & proceeding on to post-secondary education of any kind is so important for our teens. Teenagers are a vulnerable population and I want to let them know they do not have to face their worries alone!” said Welch.

She is one of the 56 advisors that were specially trained through the AdviseMI program with the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) and placed in 70 high schools throughout the state. Advisers will work alongside high school counselors to create and foster a college-going atmosphere among students. Welch will provide direct support to students in navigating the complex process of college admissions and financial aid. She will be working at Hart and Shelby schools, primarily with Juniors and Seniors and their families, and can provide direct support helping students set a postsecondary education goal, preparing college applications and essays, completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, securing financial aid and formally enrolling in a higher education program.

“We encourage students and parents to visit the high school counseling offices to connect with Antionette for support. We are eager to help students find the right career path and post-secondary education & training that supports their path, whether it is a certificate program, high quality apprenticeship, skilled trades training, or a degree program” says Alyssa Merten, Oceana CAN! Coordinator.

“These advisers are pivotal to promoting the concept that postsecondary education is for everybody,” said Brandy Johnson, MCAN executive director. “The rigorous training our advisers received ensures they are fully prepared to help students navigate the sometimes overwhelming path to pursuing postsecondary education.”

To see the full list of 70 high schools hosting a college adviser, visit

About Michigan College Access Network and Oceana College Access Network

As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN’s mission is to increase Michigan’s college readiness, participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college going students, and students of color. For the seventh year in a row, Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate has increased — from 35.7 percent of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree in 2008, to 39.4 percent in 2015. Oceana County’a attainment rate is also on the rise,  currently at 26.9%. Additionally, it is estimated another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 43.4 percent. The state-wide and local goal is to increase postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the year 2025. For more information, visit or