At the turn of the 21st century, confidence in the value and importance of higher education was being challenged in many quarters. State funding support for higher education was declining, parents questioned rising tuition costs, and both racial and socioeconomic disparities were apparent in college enrollments. Both the University of Michigan and Michigan State University were concerned about these issues and committed to promoting college access, expanding higher educational opportunities, and enrolling a diverse student body. University faculty, staff, and students were interested in how to achieve these goals. A statewide conference to bring together interested parties seemed a good way to jumpstart the conversation.

The first Pre-College and Youth Outreach Conference (PCC) was organized by Will Edwards at Michigan State University in 2008. The second PCC was held in 2009 at the University of Michigan and organized by William Collins at the Center for Educational Outreach who established the conference as an annual event. These first two conferences focused on important topics of interest to education professionals across the state of Michigan which helped to build the reputation of PCC and expand the reach of the conference throughout the state of Michigan.

Issues Addressed

National issues such as graduation rates, college admission, access; Detroit Public Schools crisis and supporting youth in Detroit; How to involve the public universities of the state of Michigan to promote college access; How can public institutions Inspire the next generation to go to college; How to promote college access and college-going community to the younger generation; Discussing the costs of community/local college vs. 4-year public or private universities; Demographic change and SoM workforce needs: the role of higher education; Promoting a college-going culture across the state; Successful collaborations for college access; Informing parents about college options and opportunities; College costs and college benefits; Goal 2025: The need for a highly trained/educated workforce; The role of HS counselors in promoting a college-going culture.

Steering Committee

Today, the Pre-College and Youth Outreach Conference is planned and orchestrated by multiple colleges and universities as well as community-based partners. The current Steering Committee of PCC includes:

Past Themes and Speakers include:

October 21st, 2021 – Hosted by the PCC Steering Committee (Virtually) 

    • Theme: New Horizons: The Innovation, Resilience, and Perseverance of K-12 Students
    • Keynote: Dr. Ryan M. Niemiec, Education Director, VIA Institute on Character

November 19th – 20th, 2020 – Hosted by Michigan State University (Virtually) 

    • Theme: Gen Z and Beyond: Connecting to Tomorrow’s Youth
    • Keynote: Corey Seemiller, PhD, Generation Z Researcher, Author, and Speaker

November 18th, 2019 – Hosted by University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

    • Theme: Inclusion & Innovation: Cultivating Michigan’s Youth 
    • Keynote: Kedra Ishop, PhD Vice Provost for Enrollment Management, University of Michigan 

November 6th, 2017 – Hosted by University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

    • Theme: The Urgency of College Access: Challenges, Opportunities, and Impacts
    • Keynote: Jamie Casap, Educational Evangelist, Google

November 14th – 15th, 2016 – Hosted by Michigan State University

    • Theme: Building Pathways. Providing Access. Ensuring Success.
    • Keynote: Christopher Tremblay, PhD, New Director of External Engagement, MCAN

November 15-16, 2015 – Hosted by University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

    • Theme: Pumping the Pipeline: Advancing Access to College and Career
    • Keynote: Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, Director for the Center for Higher Education Enterprise at Ohio State University

November 16th – 17th, 2014 – Hosted by Western Michigan

    • Theme: Youth2College: Providing Youth the Resource to Navigate the Pipeline
    • Keynote: Dr. Samuel Betances, Senior Diversity Consultant, Souder, Betances and Associates, Inc.

November 18th, 2013 – Hosted by University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

    • Theme: Powerful Partnering: Connecting Curriculum and Practices for a College-Going Culture
    • Plenary Speakers: Tonya Allen, President of the Skillman Foundation and Patricia Martin, Assistant Vice for the National Office for the School Counselor Advocacy of College Board

November 19th, 2012 – Hosted by Michigan State University

    • Theme: Building Capacity to Collectively Prepare Students for College and Careers
    • Keynote: John Austin, President, Michigan State Board of Education

November 14th, 2011 – Hosted by University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

    • Theme: A Call to Action: Building a College-Going Culture
    • Plenary Sessions: “Educational Experience of Young Men of Color” sponsored by College Board which featured scholars from across the country, and “Forging Common Spaces for K-12/College Partnerships”, a panel of School of Education Deans from across the state of Michigan 

November 16th, 2010 – Hosted by Wayne State University

    • Theme: Education… New Innovations, New Approaches for the New Michigan
    • Keynote: Robert Bobb, Emergency Financial Manager, Detroit Public Schools

November 16th, 2009 – Hosted By University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

    • Theme: Developing Michigan’s Future Leaders: Pathways to College Access and Excellence
    • Keynote: James Applegate, Senior Vice President for Program Development at the Lumina Foundation

November 21st, 2008 – Hosted By Michigan State University

    • Theme: Building Youth Assets as a Long-Term Strategy Toward a Better Michigan
    • Keynote: Bryan Taylor, President and Founder, EduGuide