Michigan Reconnect will jumpstart pandemic recovery

It’s no secret that Michigan has been facing a skills gap for a long time.

While various efforts have been put into place to improve career training, Michigan has still struggled to help adults who could use more training to advance their careers.

The Michigan Reconnect program will fill that gap while jumpstarting our economy at the same time.

Now a year into the pandemic, the need for an effort like that has never been more apparent. Michiganders have faced job loss and economic hardships. Michigan Reconnect will be a lifeline to get those people into better-paying jobs that will support their families.

Michigan’s 28 public community colleges have long offered affordable and convenient ways for people to learn. Whether a student is fresh out of high school and looking for an affordable pathway to a degree or they’ve been in the workforce for 20 years and want to try something new, community colleges are able to move their learning forward.

Now, through Michigan Reconnect, literally millions of residents will be able to access education tuition free at their local community college.

Reconnect applicants ages 25 and older will be able to choose between completing an associate degree or a skill certificate program.

The possibilities are nearly endless as Michigan’s community colleges offer a wide variety of degrees from health professions and information technology to business and manufacturing and so much more. And, for students who wish to continue their education, many of those courses and degree programs will transfer seamlessly to public and private colleges and universities across the state.

Michigan’s community colleges work closely with local employers to prepare students for the jobs of the future. They are ready to help Michiganders gain new skills in order to advance their careers and fill critical gaps in our state’s workforce.

Creating new opportunities for those who may not have had the chance otherwise will help address gaps in access to affordable higher education. This investment in our people will keep our state competitive now and into the future.

We appreciate the leadership of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Legislature on this important issue. Michigan’s colleges are honored to play a part in advancing the careers of more than 4.1 million Michiganders. The investment in advanced learning opportunities will help people enter into in-demand fields and help businesses find the qualified talent they need.

No doubt, it has been a tough year. From dealing with COVID-19 itself to the job losses and reductions that have followed, many Michiganders have been left wondering, what now?

Michigan Reconnect can be that next step.

Applications for this life-changing program are now open at michigan.gov/reconnect and those accepted could start classes as soon as this summer.

While we’re not out of the woods with the pandemic quite yet, Michigan Reconnect is creating a lifeline to a brighter future for Michiganders.

Now’s the time to seize the opportunity.

Michael Hansen is president of the Michigan Community College Association.


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