If money can be found, Whitmer plan good for ACC

That glow coming from Johnson Street Tuesday evening was the smiles of Alpena Community College administration and trustees watching Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State address.

In particular, everyone had to be excited about the prospect of her suggestion that the state pay for two years’ tuition for graduating high school students. The proposal would encourage more graduates to further their education, and thus, attendance at community colleges like ACC should see an increase in enrollment numbers.

Regarding a new mandate to have at least 60 percent of state residents having a post-secondary degree by 2030, Whitmer said it won’t be easy, and the path won’t be straight.

“To get there, we need to start thinking differently about what it takes to succeed,” she said. “We used to think about careers in terms of ladders. One way up. But, today, it’s more like rock-climbing.”

Whitmer’s goal is admirable.

But not everyone is on board. The question GOP lawmakers are asking is, “Where is the money” to pay for the scholarships?

In an article in Bridge Magazine this week on reaction to the State of the State, author Riley Beggin said Whitmer “is likely to face a major hurdle in the Legislature” regarding that tuition proposal.

Like the roads issue we wrote about Friday in this space, more will be known as Whitmer prepares her budget. At that point, we’ll learn how the governor envisions paying for her proposal, which would be the first of its kind in the Midwest.

Maybe those smiles at Johnson Street will continue, maybe not.

At the very least, the governor has challenged each of us to think differently regarding the future and that, in our minds, is a good thing indeed.