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Governor Whitmer Launches $30 Million Bipartisan Michigan Reconnect Program | News, Sports, Jobs


LANSING – Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined Republican and Democratic lawmakers today to announce the launch of the $30 million Michigan Reconnect program, the largest effort in state history to ensure that more than 4 .1 million Michiganders age 25 or older who don’t have a college degree will have the option of earning an associate’s degree or skills certificate tuition-free.

“All Michiganders deserve a path to well-paying employment, whether they choose to pursue a college degree, technical certificate, or apprenticeship,” Governor Whitmer said during a virtual press conference. Michigan Reconnect connect thousands of Michiganders to well-paying jobs and connect businesses to the talent they need to thrive in their communities. I am proud of the hard work that has gone into creating this historic new opportunity and look forward to continuing the bipartisan work with lawmakers toward our goal of ensuring 60% of Michiganders will have a post-secondary degree by 2030. »

Michigan Reconnect will pay tuition for eligible adults who wish to earn an associate’s degree or skills certificate at their district community college. The program also offers skills scholarships to help cover tuition fees in more than 70 private training schools with 120 programs that offer certificates in high-demand careers in industries such as manufacturing, construction, information technology, healthcare, or business management.

Starting today, Michiganders can submit requests to michigan.gov/Reconnect. The application takes less than five minutes to complete and can be done on a mobile device.

Reconnect scholarships are accepted by all community colleges in Michigan and are even available to eligible adults who are already enrolled at their local community college. The program pays the remaining balance of tuition and mandatory fees after other state and federal financial aid has been applied. For those who choose to attend an out-of-district community college, Reconnect will pay for the in-district portion of the tuition.

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) administers Reconnect in partnership with the Michigan Department of Treasury.

“Reconnect provides a pathway for so many Michigan residents hoping to begin – or end – their educational and professional journeys,” said Susan Corbin, Acting Director of LEO. “This program, like so many others we are focused on, will help expand opportunities for all Michigan residents and make Michigan a better place to live, work and play.”

To be eligible for Michigan Reconnect, you must:

— Be at least 25 years old at the time of application

— Have lived in Michigan for a year or more

— Have a high school diploma

— Have not yet obtained a college degree (associate or bachelor’s degree)

Michigan Reconnect funding was introduced in Governor Whitmer’s budget proposal for the 2020-21 fiscal year. A bipartisan group of lawmakers – led by State Senator Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, State Senator Jim Ananich, D-Flint, State Representative Ben Frederick, R-Owosso, State Representative Sarah Anthony, D-Lansing and former State Representative Sheryl Kennedy, D-Davison – approved $30 million in state funding.

The ability of Michigan employers to find highly skilled and capable employees is more challenging than ever and is cited as a top concern in the latest Michigan Future Business Index report. Michigan Reconnect will help address the twin challenges of the state’s widening talent gap and aging workforce.

In 2019, only 41% of working-age Michigan residents had an associate’s degree or higher, placing Michigan 31st in the nation. The average age of the 365,232 Michigan residents currently enrolled in community college is 25.7, and more than 36 percent are 25 or older, according to the Michigan Community College Association.

“Even if Michigan were able to retain all high school and college graduates, it wouldn’t be enough to fill our state’s talent gap,” said Senator Horn. “Our goal with Michigan Reconnect is to meet our state’s workforce needs by encouraging and helping residents afford and earn a college degree or advanced certificate. Our state now has a tool to reach adults who want to pursue post-secondary education, if they choose.

Michiganders without a college degree or training credential often face economic challenges. A 2020 analysis from the American Association of Community Colleges reports that the median earnings of full-time employees with a high school diploma are $40,510 per year, while those with an associate’s degree earn $50,079 per year, based on data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Michigan Reconnect is a win for Michiganders across our state,” Rep. Anthony said. “When adults earn degrees and learn new skills, they have the opportunity to advance in the workplace, earn higher wages, and achieve their life’s dreams.”

Several organizations from all sectors of the state’s economy have committed to working as Reconnect Champions to promote awareness of the program, including the Michigan Manufacturers Association.

“By helping workers get the training they need to thrive, companies will have the skilled talent they need to succeed,” said MMA President and CEO John Walsh. “Michigan Reconnect helps businesses across the state increase the size and quality of their workforce and is an incredible asset to economic mobility.”

Individuals looking to take advantage of Reconnect and unsure of what they would like to study are encouraged to consider some of Michigan’s most in-demand careers. A list of these careers and salaries by occupation and region is available on the Michigan Reconnect website.

Shabaka Bailey, 25, of Lansing, spoke at today’s virtual press conference and described Michigan Reconnect as a “almost too good to be true” opportunity.

Bailey learned about the program from a career coach at Capital Area Michigan Works in Lansing. He is currently looking for a job after being made redundant last summer by a local lumber yard and restaurant which closed due to the coronavirus.

“It’s difficult at the moment with the pandemic” said Bailey, who is the father of 5-year-old son Josiah and 1-year-old daughter Journi.

“I had thought about going to Lansing Community College to get my associate degree,” he said. “But I couldn’t afford to pay school fees and support my children at the same time. Michigan Reconnect is a great opportunity for me to pursue my dream now.

“I plan to enroll in the LCC and start their aviation program,” Bailey added. “I want to become an aeronautical technician and work on aircraft engines. I think it’s a great career for me that will allow me to make something of myself.

A virtual press conference tour through March will also showcase the benefits of Michigan Reconnect to audiences across the state. The events will feature state legislators and local leaders representing community colleges and business and workforce development organizations, as well as testimonials from potential Michigan Reconnect candidates from all parts of Michigan. ‘State.

While more than 8 in 10 parents of a Michigan high school student expect their child to earn a college degree, 70% said high costs are a barrier, according to a survey commissioned by the Michigan Association of State Universities.

Michigan Reconnect is an ideal solution for families and students who initially decided they couldn’t afford the tuition to attend community college or were worried about going into debt.

The program builds on the success of the A future for frontliners initiative that Governor Whitmer launched last September and to which more than 120,000 Michiganders submitted applications by the Dec. 31 deadline.

The first program of its kind in the nation, Futures for Frontliners offered a tuition-free college or high school diploma to Michiganders who provided essential frontline services during COVID-19 Stay Home, Stay Safe orders between April and June 2020. .

Approximately 20,000 Michiganders who applied but did not qualify for Futures for Frontliners and are 25 or older will automatically be eligible for tuition-free college aid with Michigan Reconnect.

Eligible residents can learn more and apply for Michigan Reconnect at michigan.gov/Reconnect.



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