Advance Notice: Briefs

More than 70K Michiganders enroll in MI Reconnect, exceeding state goal

By: - May 25, 2021 11:45 am

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at Henry Ford Community College, March 14, 2019 | Ken Coleman

The bipartisan “Michigan Reconnect” program for job training has surpassed the state’s goal of 60,000 applicants by Memorial Day, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office announced Friday.

So far, more than 70,000 residents have signed up for the new $30 million program, which provides tuition-free paths to an associate degree or skills certificate.

“A talented and skilled workforce helps build a strong economy and puts Michigan on the map as a place for opportunity,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Businesses need skilled talent so they can thrive in our vibrant communities. I’m proud of the hardworking men and women who have taken the leap to continue their education and I look forward to ongoing bipartisan work with lawmakers to connect millions of Michiganders to the resources they need to succeed in a good-paying career.” 

Michigan Reconnect pays for in-district tuition costs, mandatory fees and contact hours for eligible adults after other state and federal financial aid have been applied.

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 or equivalent and have not yet completed a college degree (associate or bachelor’s).

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Michigan also offers Futures for Frontliners, a scholarship program for pandemic frontline workers that has already seen 15,000 of its applicants enrolled in community college.

Awardees have until the end of 2021 to enroll in classes to take advantage of the free-tuition program.

“Talent is one of the single most important factors in business attraction and growth,” said Susan Corbin, acting director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO). “Creating equitable access to education opens doors to develop the state’s most valuable resource — our workers.”  

The state also encouraged Reconnect applicants to complete their free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and begin to enroll in a community college or adult education program.

Resources and support for interested Michiganders are available through local partners including Michigan Works! agencies, MI Bridges and community colleges.

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, Native issues and criminal justice for the Advance. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or spending time with her cats, she loves art and design, listening to music, playing piano, enjoying good food and being out in nature (especially Up North).

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