If you’re 25 or older, have lived in Michigan for at least a year, and don’t have a college degree, you’ll probably like this.   Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined with Republican and Democratic legislators on Tuesday to announce the launch of the $30 million Michigan Reconnect program.  Under the program, more than 4.1 million Michiganders will have an opportunity to earn a tuition-free associate degree or skills certificate.

“Michigan Reconnect will connect thousands of Michiganders to good-paying jobs and connect businesses with the talent they need to thrive in their communities,” Gov. Whitmer said during a virtual news conference.    The Governor said the goal is to have 60% of state residents earning a postsecondary degree by 2030.”

Michigan Reconnect will pay the cost of tuition for eligible adults who want to pursue an associate degree or skills certificate at their in-district community college. The program also offers skills scholarships to help cover the cost of tuition through more than 70 private training schools with 120 programs that offer certificates in high-demand careers in industries such as manufacturing, construction, information technology, healthcare, or business management.

MI Reconnect-State of Michigan

Starting today, Michiganders can submit applications online here.  The application takes less than five minutes to complete and can be done on a mobile device.

Reconnect scholarships are accepted by all Michigan community colleges and are even available to eligible adults who are already enrolled in their local community college. The program pays the remaining balance of tuition and mandatory fees after other state and federal financial aid has been applied. For those who choose to attend an out-of-district community college, Reconnect will pay the in-district portion of tuition.

To be eligible for Michigan Reconnect, you must:

  • Be at least 25 years old when you apply
  • Have lived in Michigan for a year or more
  • Have a high school diploma
  • Have not yet completed a college degree (associate or bachelor)

Michigan employers’ ability to find highly skilled and capable employees is more difficult than ever and is cited as a top concern in the most recent Michigan Future Business Index Report. Michigan Reconnect will help address the dual challenges of the state’s widening talent gap and an aging workforce.

As of 2019, only 41% of Michigan’s working-age residents had an associate degree or higher, placing Michigan at 31st in the nation. The average age of Michigan’s 365,232 residents currently enrolled at a community college is 25.7 years old, and more than 36% are 25 or older, according to the Michigan Community College Association.

A 2020 analysis by the American Association of Community Colleges reports the median earnings of full-time employees with a high school degree is $40,510 annually, while those with an associate degree make $50,079 per year, based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Several organizations from all sectors of the state’s economy have pledged to work as Reconnect Champions to promote awareness of the program, including the Michigan Manufacturers Association.

Individuals looking to take advantage of Reconnect who are unsure what they’d like to study are encouraged to consider some of Michigan’s high-demand careers. A list of those careers and wages by occupation and region is available on the Michigan Reconnect website.

Eligible residents can learn more and apply for Michigan Reconnect online here. 

Michigan Reconnect
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