ECIC Applauds New Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential  

July 12, 2023   

ECIC Applauds New Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential 

Focus on early learning and higher education will bolster ECIC’s ongoing efforts to ensure all young children and their families in Michigan thrive.  

LANSING, MI — Today, the Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC) issued the following statement after Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order establishing the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential, or MiLEAP.   

“This is a big opportunity for young children, their families, and the early care and education workforce, which is the backbone of Michigan’s economy,” said Dawne Bell, CEO of ECIC. “We are so thankful for Governor Whitmer’s leadership in unifying and aligning these resources and services and for her commitment to ensuring Michigan families have access to equitable, high quality, and affordable early care and education. At ECIC, we believe learning begins at birth. We look forward to collaborating with MiLEAP to further capacity and increase investments in the earliest years.” 

 “Every Michigander deserves a path to ‘make it in Michigan’ with strong, lifelong learning support,” said Gov. Whitmer. “For too long, we have thought of education as K-12, but we know that’s not good enough. I’m establishing MiLEAP today because we need to get every kid started early, in pre-K, so they succeed in kindergarten, have paths after graduation to get higher education tuition-free, and forge strong partnerships with our employers so they can get a good-paying, high-skill, and in-demand job. MiLEAP will help our learning ecosystem take the jump to the next level as we grow our economy and build a brighter future for Michigan.”  


MiLEAP will align all available resources, data, and funds around a single vision—building an education system from early learning through postsecondary to help anyone ‘make it’ in Michigan.   

MiLEAP has three broad goals:  

  • Add capacity in early learning.   
  • Accelerate progress towards the state’s Sixty by 30 higher education goal.   
  • Prioritize community, regional, and state partnerships.    

These goals will be pursued by MiLEAP’s 3 offices:  

  1. Office of Early Childhood Education  
  2. Office of Higher Education   
  3. Office of Education Partnerships  

MiLEAP will partner with the Michigan Department of Education and State Board of Education, complementing their long-term planning efforts and with the new Growing Michigan Together Council as they look at ways to grow the state’s economy and population.   

To learn more about MiLEAP, read the Governor’s press release here.