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Gov. Whitmer launches tuition-free program for residents 25+


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    LANSING, Michigan (WNEM) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a tuition-free program for Michigan residents 25 and older on Feb. 2.

The $30 million Michigan Reconnect program will help residents 25 and older who do not have a college degree. Residents will have the opportunity to earn a tuition-free associate degree or skills certificate.

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

The program will pay the cost of tuition for eligible adults who want to pursue an associate degree or skills certificate at their in-district community college.

The program also offers skills scholarships to help cover the cost at more than 70 private training schools in the state.

The scholarships are also available to eligible adults already enrolled in their local community college.

“Reconnect offers a path for so many Michiganders hoping to begin – or complete – their education and career journey,” said Susan Corbin, acting director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. “This program, like so many others we’re focused on, will help expand opportunity for all Michiganders and make Michigan a better place to live, work and play.”

To be eligible, you must:
Be at least 25-years-old when you apply
Have lived in Michigan for a year or more
Have a high school diploma
Have not yet completed a college degree (associate or bachelor’s)
The most recent Michigan Future Business Index Report said employers’ ability to find highly skilled and capable employees is more difficult than ever. As of 2019, only 41 percent of working age residents in the state had an associate degree or higher.

“Even if Michigan were able to keep every high school and college graduate, it wouldn’t be enough to fill our state’s talent gap,” said Senator Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth). “Our aim with Michigan Reconnect is to meet our state’s workforce need by encouraging and assisting residents to afford and achieve a college credential or advanced certificate. Now our state has a tool to reach out to adults wanting to pursue postsecondary education, if they choose to.”

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