New program offers eligible adults an opportunity to earn a tuition-free degree
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce announced today that it will serve as a Champion to support the Michigan Reconnect program unveiled Tuesday, Feb. 2, in Lansing by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to help address a widening skills gap within the state’s workforce.
Hundreds of leading Michigan business, community, and legislative leaders say Reconnect is what state employers need to alleviate the shortage of highly skilled and capable workers. “We believe Michigan Reconnect helps individuals and families pursue their dreams, and will build a strong economy that requires a talented and modern workforce to compete for future jobs,” said Tim Daman, president and CEO, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce.
As a Champion, the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce will spread the word about the Michigan Reconnect program and the opportunities it provides eligible adults locally and statewide.
The program also offers skills scholarships to help cover tuition costs at more than 70 private training schools with 120 programs to earn certification in manufacturing, construction, information technology, health care, or business management.
To be eligible for Michigan Reconnect, adults must meet the following criteria:
- Age 25 or older
- High school graduate or equivalent
- Michigan resident for at least one year
- Not yet completed a college degree (associate or bachelor’s)
Michigan Reconnect pays the remaining balance of tuition and mandatory fees after other state and federal financial aid has been applied.
As of 2019, only 42% of Michigan’s working-age residents had an associate degree or higher. Michiganders without a college degree or training credential often face economic challenges.
2020 analysis by the American Association of Community Colleges reports that 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 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Michigan employers’ ability to find highly skilled 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.
“We encourage area residents who want to secure their future by pursuing a satisfying, indemand career to take advantage of what Michigan Reconnect is offering,” Daman said.
The application and additional program information are available now at Michigan.gov/Reconnect, with enrollment in classes beginning May 2021.