Essential workers who are interested in applying for a tuition-free college program, the Futures for Frontliners, can do so, but the deadline is nearing.
Essential and frontline workers are encouraged to put their best foot forward in their educational journey and apply for free college tuition towards an associate degree or industry-recognized certificate at community college by Dec. 31 – even if they have not completed their high school diploma, according to a state of Michigan press release.
“Our frontline workers put their lives on the line every day to provide crucial support to our families during this pandemic, and they deserve support long after this crisis is over. That’s what the Futures for Frontliners program is all about. I encourage everyone who is eligible to take advantage of this free path to a degree or skills certificate they’ve been dreaming about,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in the press release. “This initiative is not only a way to say, ‘thank you,’ it’s an opportunity to provide a pathway to better-paying jobs. Remember, Michiganders: mask up, practice safe social distancing, and wash your hands frequently. We will get through this together.”
Since the program launched in early September, 100,000 essential workers have applied and will soon be on their way to completing a tuition-free degree or skills certificate – putting them on a path to fill one of the state’s most in-demand careers.
“By closely following the labor trends in our state we’ve learned that prioritizing the talent needs is essential to economic growth and prosperity for all,” Kerry Ebersole, Office of Sixty by 30 director said in a press release. “Creating equal access to education opens doors to develop skills that put hardworking Michiganders in a high-demand career, increase pay and fulfill dreams for those seeking a better quality of life for themselves and their families.”
The state has released new regional career data that outlines in-demand occupations by education and training requirements. Commonly across the state, there is job growth in a broad range of sectors, including healthcare, information technology, and professional trades among others, with salaries for the majority of these popular careers coming in well above area averages. Regardless of where a person is geographically located in the state or on their career path, state officials encourage Michiganders to explore in-demand careers and the free or low-cost programs to make those career goals a tangible opportunity.
Michiganders who may not qualify for free tuition through Futures for Frontliners are encouraged to explore other opportunities to earn college credit or a certificate free of charge through the states Sixty by 30 efforts aimed at ensuring 60% of working-age Michiganders have a degree or certificate beyond high school by 2030.
Whether one is just starting their career exploration or considering a change in profession, those interested in education beyond high school are encouraged to explore free education and training resources at Skills to Work, including opportunities to take College Board’s College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests for free through ModernStates.org. In early 2021, Michiganders age 25 and older will be able to apply for free college tuition through Michigan Reconnect – providing the tools necessary for every Michigander to find a rewarding career.
“With more and more jobs requiring a highly-skilled workforce, we want to make sure people are looking at the top, growing career paths and getting linked up with free-opportunities to learn the skills needed to succeed,” Ebersole added.
Interested frontline workers should visit michigan.gov/Frontliners to explore statewide and regional in-demand career opportunities and get started on their application.
To view application data, visit the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives (LMI) Futures for Frontliners data map where you can track applicant submissions by county, House, and Senate districts.