Michigan is compensating essential workers with free college education

Essential workers have put their health and safety on the line to keep critical services running during the pandemic. Michigan is recognizing the commitment and sacrifices of their state’s 625,000 essential workers by offering them free education at any community college in the state. 

The detailed plan, called Futures for Frontliners, was announced last week by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and offers a free community college education to essential workers on the frontlines in medicine, manufacturing, nursing homes, grocery stores, sanitation, delivery, retail, and more. The plan is inspired by the WW2 G.I. Bill, which offered free college education to those who had served their country.

The program will cost an estimated $24 million and the investment is being funded by the Governor’s Education Emergency Relief Fund, part of the federal CARES Act. To be eligible for the program, workers must be Michigan residents and have worked outside the home in an essential function between April 1 and June 30, the height of the pandemic, and have not previously earned an associate or bachelor’s degree. Those who wish to apply must submit their application by the end of the year. 

Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio told USA Today, “Futures for Frontliners gives those who helped save lives and kept our communities operating during the height of COVID an opportunity to increase their skills and income and helps us close the state’s skills gap.”

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Michigan is compensating essential workers with free college education

Essential workers have put their health and safety on the line to keep critical services running during the pandemic. Michigan is recognizing the commitment and sacrifices of their state’s 625,000 essential workers by offering them free education at any community college in the state. 

The detailed plan, called Futures for Frontliners, was announced last week by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and offers a free community college education to essential workers on the frontlines in medicine, manufacturing, nursing homes, grocery stores, sanitation, delivery, retail, and more. The plan is inspired by the WW2 G.I. Bill, which offered free college education to those who had served their country.

The program will cost an estimated $24 million and the investment is being funded by the Governor’s Education Emergency Relief Fund, part of the federal CARES Act. To be eligible for the program, workers must be Michigan residents and have worked outside the home in an essential function between April 1 and June 30, the height of the pandemic, and have not previously earned an associate or bachelor’s degree. Those who wish to apply must submit their application by the end of the year. 

Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio told USA Today, “Futures for Frontliners gives those who helped save lives and kept our communities operating during the height of COVID an opportunity to increase their skills and income and helps us close the state’s skills gap.”

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