Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has announced a new program to provide a tuition-free college or technical education to essential workers who do not have a degree.
The program will help the state meet its goal to increase the number of working-age adults with a technical certificate or college degree from 45 percent to 60 percent by 2030. Whitmer will also expand Michigan’s Workshare Program to allow employers to reduce employee hours to receive weekly unemployment insurance benefits as well as the $600 unemployment assistance from the federal government.
“Essential workers eligible include workers staffing hospitals and nursing homes, stocking the shelves at grocery stores, providing child care to critical infrastructure workers, manufacturing personal protective equipment, protecting public safety, picking up trash, or delivering supplies,” reported WWMT West Michigan.
“The Futures for Frontliners program is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to those who have risked their lives on the front lines of this crisis. This program will ensure tuition-free college opportunities and give these dedicated Michiganders an opportunity to earn a technical certificate, associate degree or even a bachelor’s degree,” Whitmer said. “I want to assure all of our workers we will never forget those of you who stepped up and sacrificed their own health during this crisis. You’re the reason we’re going to get through this.”
“No Michigander should have to worry about how to feed their family or pay rent during a crisis. And no Michigander should be scared to go to work,” Whitmer continued. “From the beginning, my team and I have been working around the clock to solve those problems for working families. And I will continue to fight for our working people long after this crisis is over.”
The program was inspired by the GI bill after World War II that provides educational assistance to servicemembers, veterans, and their dependents.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.