MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — The Futures for Frontliners program, announced Thursday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, will offer a tuition-free community college education to around 625,000 Michiganders who served as essential workers during the state COVID-19 shutdown from April to June.
The assistance will pay for a workers first associates degree or industry-related certificate at a local Michigan community college.
Futures for Frontliners could bring hundreds of new students to Muskegon Community College.
“The Futures for Frontliners is a life-changing opportunity for those Michiganders who qualify,” said MCC Provost/Executive Vice President John Selmon. "This is a game changer, life-changing stuff."
Selmon says MCC is committed to doing its part to make sure there is a seamless enrollment process for any frontline workers interested in enrolling in classes.
The state will use $24 million from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, part of the CARES Act funding to pay for the program.
The free education is expected to put thousands of workers on a path to a better job and help close the state's skills gap.
"What an awesome opportunity," Selmon said.
MCC's high demand programs for workers going back to school include technology, medical, health, nursing and respiratory therapy.
And MCC is already making plans to handle the potential bump in enrollment.
"Without question," Selmon said.
Essential workers in manufacturing, nursing homes, grocery stores, retail and many other positions likely qualify.
Futures for Frontliners applicants need to enroll and begin classes in the winter, summer, or fall semester of 2021.
Eligible workers must also meet the following criteria:
- be a Michigan resident;
- have worked in an essential industry at least half-time for 11 of the 13 weeks between April 1 – June 30, 2020;
- have a high school diploma or equivalent (e.g. GED);
- not have previously earned an associate or bachelor’s degree;
- not be in default on a Federal student loan; and
- complete a Futures scholarship application by no later than 11:59 pm on December 31, 2020.
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