Essential workers have played a pivotal role on the front line in the battle against COVID-19.
The Futures of Frontliners program, the first of its kind in the country, will provide tuition-free postsecondary education opportunities for essential workers throughout Michigan. The program is similar to the GI Bill, where the federal government supported soldiers returning from World War II by providing educational opportunities.
Frontline workers who take advantage of this program will help reach Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s goal to increase the number of working-age adults with a technical certificate or college degree from 45% to 60% by 2030.
“The Futures for Frontliners program is our way of saying thank you to those who have risked their lives on the front lines of this crisis,” said Whitmer. “This program will ensure tuition-free college opportunities and give these dedicated Michiganders an opportunity to earn a technical certificate, associate degree or even a bachelor’s degree. I want to assure all of our workers, we will never forget those of you who stepped up and sacrificed their own health during this crisis.”
The unique scholarship program for Michiganders without college degrees who worked in essential industries during the state shutdown during spring 2020 will allow them to chase their dreams. The scholarship provides the frontline workers with tuition-free access to local community colleges to pursue an associate degree or a skills certificate, either full time or part time while they work.
Workers would have had to work in an essential industry at least part time for 11 of the 13 weeks of the shutdown, not be in default on a federal student loan and have not previously earned an associate or bachelor’s degree.
An estimated 625,000 Michigan workers are eligible for the program.