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Michigan announces plan to offer free college to essential workers

FILE - In this May 5, 2018, file photo, students attend the University of Toledo commencement ceremony in Toledo, Ohio. Colleges across the U.S. have begun cancelling and curtailing spring graduation events amid fears that the new coronavirus will not have subsided before the stretch of April and May when schools typically invite thousands of visitors to campus to honor graduating seniors. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
FILE - In this May 5, 2018, file photo, students attend the University of Toledo commencement ceremony in Toledo, Ohio. Colleges across the U.S. have begun cancelling and curtailing spring graduation events amid fears that the new coronavirus will not have subsided before the stretch of April and May when schools typically invite thousands of visitors to campus to honor graduating seniors. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File) (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has announced a new program to offer tuition-free pathways to college for essential workers.

The "Futures for Frontliners” program aims to provide a tuition-free pathway to college or a technical certificate to essential workers who don’t have a college degree. This includes workers like the ones staffing our hospitals and nursing homes, stocking the shelves at grocery stores, providing child care to critical infrastructure workers, manufacturing PPE, protecting public safety, picking up trash, or delivering supplies.

Live today at 3 p.m.: Michigan Gov. Whitmer holds coronavirus news briefing

“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. 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,” Governor Whitmer said. “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. You’re the reason we’re going to get through this.”

The state says the “Futures for Frontliners” program is the first of its kind in the country, and was inspired by the federal government’s support of soldiers returning from World War II by providing educational opportunities.

The Governor stated that she looks forward to working on enacting her proposal with the bipartisan legislative coalition that helped pass Reconnect last month, the program to offer adults over 25 without college degrees tuition-free access to community college.

More information on the program is expected at a later date.

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