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MACAE State Report- 2019

MACAE Newsletter- September 2019

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News from MACAE:

Friday, April 2, 2021

MACAE mourns the loss of Michele Corey, statewide advocacy champion, colleague and friend

Dear Members and Partners:

It is with great sadness, on behalf of MACAE and the Board of Directors, that I write to you today to announce the passing of our colleague and dear friend Michele Corey.

Remembering Michele Corey

Michele’s impact on public policy in Michigan was monumental in many ways and she was a strong advocate and supporter for MACAE.  As the Vice President of Programming at Michigan’s Children, she served as an Ex-Officio member of our Board for nearly a decade.

Michele contributed to MACAE in a variety of ways- conducting various workshops, inviting us to meetings with key policymakers, organizing Student Speak events, legislative conversations, helping facilitate our board strategic planning, advocacy alerts and more.  Whenever you left a conversation with Michele you knew that with the right people in the room, anything was possible.  She really felt strongly that MACAE had an important role to play in statewide and national conversations about adult education, early childhood investment and workforce readiness.  Her voice was really important for us.

Michele was an integral part in working with the MACAE Board in 2017 to create a shared Communications and Outreach position between the two organizations.  This relationship has only grown stronger in the succeeding years.

Tammy Brown, our current President shared her reflections on the life and legacy of Michele: “Michele was not only a passionate advocate but one of the kindest people I have ever met.  It is such a loss to all that she supported.  My heart goes out to her friends and family.  She will be desperately missed by all who were blessed to meet her.”

Vice President of MACAE Karyn Goven commented on the visionary impact of Michele’s influence at MACAE:  “In life, you meet people who inspire or make you want to become better in what you do, and Michele Corley was that person. Michele was the type of person who motivated everyone to look at the whole picture of Adult Education and how our programs intertwine with our students’ traumatic experiences.  She promoted Family Speak and Student speak so the voices of those who do not have an advocate can be heard.  She was so positive about MACAE and Patrick because she knew the impact we can make in people’s lives. Michele always worked hard and was so knowledgeable about what is happening surrounding the world of children and how it correlates to Adult Education. It was because of her leadership that I decided to retool what I do about job training, literacy, education, and data.  I hope that she knows the impact she has made in our lives because her vision and work carry on in Adult Education today.”

Bob Steeh, longtime Past President worked closely with Michele for a number of years and considered Michele a friend.  “Michele fought for laws and policies that would better peoples’ lives.  Her life’s work was to help those in need.  Our lives will be empty in the areas that Michele had brightened for us.  Michele had a tremendous passion to work for those people confronted with barriers that inhibited their ability to succeed or improve their life.  She taught MACAE how to advocate and gave us her knowledge and expertise in working with legislators and policy makers.  Michele was a strategic thinker, who was compassionate, kind and creative.  She showed us the importance of bringing groups together to connect the dots and frame our arguments for or against a proposed bill.  Michele always worked hard to make sure we had a voice at the table, to tell the stories that have benefited a person’s life through adult education.  The one word that Michele lived by was giver. She helped us plan and execute a student speak program, would coordinate meetings with legislators and policy makers to tell our stories; she gave us invaluable advice as to strategies for advocating for adult education.  She is one of a kind and we will miss her.”

Peter Ruark from the Michigan League for Public Policy who worked closely with Michele to advocate for adult education shared, “I knew Michele prior to my involvement with MACAE, as she and I sometimes crossed paths in our respective positions at Michigan’s Children and Michigan League for Public Policy, but it was in the area of adult education in which I worked most closely with her. She was very dedicated and knowledgeable, and always had a kind smile when I saw her. I will miss her greatly!”

Oogie La Mar, Advocacy Chair reflected on Michele’s legacy and friendship, “Michele has had a great influence on the way that MACAE communicates with legislators and other influencers throughout adult education and literacy circles.  She will truly be missed – but never forgotten.  Such a POWERFUL woman!  With the superpowers of kindness, compassion, knowledge and friendship.”

Michele was an extraordinary person. She was someone who believed that anyone had the capacity to use their voice for change.  She would often say that if something was right then we should see it through, even if it took several weeks or several decades.

One of the last conversations I had with Michele was around a policy issue for kids and families and she shared, “I will keep fighting until I can’t anymore.” I’m not sure either of us expected those words to ring so true, so soon.

Simply put, Michele was a force for good.  She was a champion, an advocate, a friend.  While her voice is gone, her legacy reverberates.

This is a loss we feel strongly at MACAE.  Please join me in sending our thoughts and prayers to the Michigan’s Children staff and to Michele’s family- husband Tom, daughters Madonna and Sarah, sons Jacob and Andrew, her grandchildren and extended family.

If you would like to make a memorial contribution in Michele’s honor we would recommend donating to the work of Michigan’s Children on her behalf.

Our best this Easter weekend to you all,

Patrick Brown

Director, MACAE


February 4, 2021

Re: Honoring K. Hugh Rohrer

Honoring Hugh Rohrer

MACAE is sad to announce that we learned this week of the passing of past member and lifelong educator K. Hugh Rohrer in August 2020.  Hugh was born in Detroit on Groundhog Day in 1932. After his service in the Korean War, he finished his Bachelors and Masters degrees and became an elementary school teacher, then Community School Director for the Flint Schools and eventually the Vice Principal of Garfield Elementary School. He became a Fellow for Community Education at the Mott Foundation and spent ten years as Director of the Center for Community Education based at Alma College, the dawn of a long career developing and promoting the concept of community education throughout the state of Michigan and beyond.

Hugh was also Professor/Advisor in the Department of Education at Central Michigan University.  He published several articles and received numerous accolades, which included induction into both the National Community Education Association Hall of Fame and the Michigan Education Hall of Fame.

Bob Steeh, Past President of MACAE said, “Hugh was my advisor while at CMU, and was instrumental in my first position in community education for Brighton Area Schools. Hugh had an open-door policy and always gave of his time to all students. He truly believed in the concept of community education and the benefits it could bring to the classroom, school district and community. When you think of the voices and pillars of community education and its development: Charles Stewart Mott, Frank Manley, Jack Minzey, Clyde LeTarte, Dan Cady; Hugh Rohrer is certainly part of that club.  He guided many students going into education and encouraged many to think beyond just the four walls of the classroom, (including me).”

Tammy Brown, President of MACAE had this to say, “Our deepest condolences go out to the family, friends and colleagues of K. Hugh Rohrer.  He was a long standing MACAE member and a pioneer of community education.  His impact is still felt today at the local, state and national level.  We will be forever grateful for his dedication to Community Education here in Michigan.”

Hugh attended a number of our MACAE Conferences and gave several keynote addresses. He was awarded the MACAE Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions in the field of education and lifetime commitment to MACAE and community education. 

Our thoughts go out to Hugh’s family, especially his son Jeff who was also a member of MACAE and worked in adult and community education.  


September 16, 2020

MACAE Response to Futures for Frontliners Program Launch

Last week, the Governor announced the Futures for Frontliners (Futures) program to provide tuition free access to community college for Michiganders without high school credentials and college degrees who have worked in frontline jobs in essential industries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program, delivered through the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, is a divided into a two-path system: Path 1 for Frontline workers who have a high school diploma or equivalent and Path 2 for Frontline workers who need to complete a high school diploma or equivalent.

To be eligible for either Path, an individual must be a Michigan resident and have worked in an essential industry at least half-time for 11 of the 13 weeks between April 1, 2020 – June 30, 2020.  Frontline workers in Path 1 that do not have a high school diploma or equivalency must be 18 years of age and not currently enrolled in high school to participate.

This is an exciting opportunity for our state, for Michiganders looking to increase their educational attainment and skills and for community partners invested in adult skill building and credential attainment.   Particularly, the inclusion of those individuals without a high school diploma or credential.  Through the Futures for Frontliners Program, we will be able to ensure that we can not only help adults earn a diploma or credential but also earn an industry- recognized certification in a high need, in demand job.

MACAE has been a strong advocate for increased opportunities for investment in the adult population in our state without a high school diploma or equivalent and we are happy to see that a large part of the $24 million dedicated to this programming is to reach those individuals.  Over the last few months, we have had continued conversations with policymakers, the Governor’s Office and the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to articulate the extraordinary needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized families and adults across the state.

These conversations have had a positive impact on the creation of Path 2 in the Futures for Frontliners Program.

This investment in education and career attainment is a good first step.  We are ensuring an opportunity for more of our fellow citizens to have access to education and career opportunities.  In turn, this program will positively impact thousands of adults, children and families across our state.

As a part of its ongoing mission, MACAE is launching a series of Informational Learning Sessions for Adult Education Providers and invested groups to learn more about the program with the first sessions on September 16 and September 30th.

Additionally, over the next few months MACAE will continue to work with the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to analyze the impact on adults without a high school diploma or credential.

What can you do to help?  Share information about the program.  Reach out to individuals you know that might qualify.  Together, we can continue to connect our neighbors, community members and friends to this important programming.

More information and registration on the Futures for Frontliners Program can be found at

The Michigan Association of Community and Adult Education is the leading professional organization for over 350 adult, alternative, community education and workforce development professionals across the state.  More information can be found at


MACAE Announces New Leadership and Roles for 2020-2021

June 18, 2020

The Michigan Association of Community and Adult Education is announcing several exciting leadership changes to be in effect on July 1st.

Tammy Brown will assume the role of President of the Board of Directors of MACAE.  Bob Steeh will now assume the role of Past President.  We thank him for his many years of service to MACAE.

Tammy currently serves as the Director of Continuing Education at Troy Public Schools.  In this capacity she oversees adult ESL/ABE/HSE/HSC instruction and workforce readiness, Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education(IELCE), and Integrated Education and Training (IET) for over 600 participants along with middle and high school summer school district programming administering over 1600 summer classes.  She was the President of Oakland County Community and Adult Educators (OCCAE) for the past 8 years, transitioning to the Legislative representative for 2020-21.  Tammy also sits on the Oakland County Career and Educational Advisory Council (CEAC) and is part of an ongoing Oakland County Strategic Planning committee. She stated “I am very excited for the new challenges this position entails, and very grateful that Bob will be continuing as an active member to support the transition.  Taking over this presidency during a world-wide pandemic brings with it even more challenges than expected, but I am ready to do the work needed to support our members to the best of my ability. Fortunately, MACAE has amazing board members and staff with the same mentality, we are ready to do the work, and I have a very strong staff in Troy to continue our work there when I am supporting MACAE.  I am honored with the trust our members have placed in my hands and hope all members know that they can come to MACAE with any challenges and/or innovative ideas and we will be there to help them succeed!”

In more leadership news, the MACAE Board of Directors voted unanimously at its June 2020 board meeting to select Patrick Brown as its new Director effective July 1st. Tammy said “Patrick has been such a successful Outreach Coordinator that we felt it was time to promote him to Director. This will strengthen opportunities for Patrick to grow MACAE’s partnerships while keeping MACAE focused on its strategic plan. I am thrilled to take on this new role with him by my side.  As most of you already know, he has an amazing work ethic, is proactive and thoughtful in his planning, and a caring listener.  He is so supportive of all members and their needs.”

In addition, newly elected and appointed officers of the Board include Karyn Goven (Southwest Solutions) as Vice President, Renae Gowen (Romulus Adult Education) as Professional Development Chair, Heather Robidoux (Michigan Works! Southeast) as Networking Chair, Maha Makki (Dearborn Adult and Community Education) as Region 6 Representative, Charlie Wynne (Plainwell Adult Education) as an At-Large Representative, Shelley Hanson (Swan Valley Adult, Alternative and Community Education) as At-Large Representative and Kelly Vella (Huron Valley Adult and Alternative Education) as At-Large Representative/Treasurer.

Continuing on the board are Oogie LaMar (Kent ISD Adult Education) as Advocacy Chair, Bill Henry (Consolidated Community Schools) as Region 1 Representative, Tina Williams (Iosco RESA Adult and Alternative Education) as Region 2 Representative, Brenda Baker (Fruitport Adult and Alternative Education) as Region 3 Representative, Stacie Zeien (Mt. Pleasant Community Education) as Region 4 Representative, Connie Cox (Milan Community Education) as Region 5 Representative.

Please welcome our new MACAE Leadership.