More than 85,000 essential workers have applied for Whitmer's 'Futures for Frontliners' scholarship so far


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. - STATE OF MICHIGAN
  • State of Michigan
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

More than 80,000 Michiganders have applied to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's "Futures for Frontliners" program since applications started in September, according to Whitmer's office.

Inspired by the post-World War II G.I. Bill, the first-of-its-kind program aims to provide tuition-free community college for an estimated 625,000 of Michigan's frontline workers who worked during the coronavirus pandemic. The program is meant as both gratitude for essential workers and a part of achieving the state's Sixty by 30 goal to increase the number of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree from 45% today to 60% by 2030.

"Futures for Frontliners has offered the opportunity for Michiganders, who have put themselves in harm’s way early in the pandemic, to pursue their dreams," Sixty by 30 director Kerry Ebersole said in a statement. "This tuition-free path to continue educational attainment and training in high-demand areas not only offers increased wages for individuals, but also arms our businesses with the highly trained workforce they need to be competitive in today's economy."

The program has been highlighting the individual stories of applicants to show how tuition-free college can change people's lives.

"My career goals are to become a Licensed Practicing Nurse then transition into becoming a registered nurse," said Kanisha Sanders, a single mother of three who currently works as a certified nursing assistant. "Free tuition would help me out tremendously and give me the chance have a better life for my children and to not live month-to-month. To be able to help people during this pandemic would mean the world to me."

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