Whitmer Announces Scholarship Program for Essential Workers

About 625,000 essential workers who continued performing their frontline duties during the height of the pandemic in Michigan are eligible for free college tuition, under a program announced Thursday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

“This initiative is Michigan’s way of expressing gratitude to essential workers for protecting public health and keeping our state running,” Whitmer said at a press conference unveiling the first-in-the-nation program.

Futures for Frontliners offers Michigan adults without college degrees or high school diplomas who provided essential services during the pandemic a tuition-free pathway to gaining the skills needed to obtain high-demand, high-wage careers.

The funding is not only available to those in the medical field, but also essential workers in schools, manufacturing, nursing homes, grocery stores, sanitation, delivery, retail and more. This includes many of MEA’s education support professional members (ESP), as well as frontline workers in MEA members’ families.

Learn more about the program and how to apply for a scholarship by the Dec. 31 deadline.

“Whether it was stocking shelves, delivering supplies, picking up trash, manufacturing PPE or providing medical care, you were there for us. Now this is your chance to pursue the degree or training you’ve been dreaming about to help you and your own family succeed.”

To be eligible, you must:

  • Be a Michigan resident
  • Have worked in an essential industry at least part-time for 11 of the 13 weeks between April 1 – June 30, 2020
  • Have been required by their job to work outside the home at least some of the time between April 1 – June 30, 2020
  • Not have previously earned an associate or bachelor’s degree
  • Not be in default on a Federal student loan
  • Complete a Futures for Frontliners scholarship application by 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2020

The program is a $24M investment funded by Governor’s Education Emergency Relief (GEER) Fund – part of the CARES Act – and supports the state’s Sixty by 30 goal announced at the Governor’s first state of the state address to increase the number of working-age Michiganders completing an a industry certificate, college degree or apprenticeship.

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