Here's an uncontroversial state government program with bipartisan backing and real benefits for those who want to learn and earn more.
Applications opened today for an opportunity called Michigan Reconnect, which will pay community college or trade school tuition for any resident who's age 25 and older. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who signed three bills last April to authorize the $30-million initiative, promoted it in Lansing today with Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, and Rep. Sarah Anthony, D-Lansing.
More than 4.1 million Michigan residents are eligible. Applicants need a high school diploma or equivalent, must have lived in Michigan at least a year and can't have a college degree (associate or bachelor's).
For students who want to attend college outside their district, the scholarship will be equal to local community campus fees.
The Department of Labor and Opportunity tells what's behind the tuition grants: "A strong state – and a strong economy – requires a concentration of talented people who are prepared to compete. Michigan has a goal of increasing the number of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree from 45% today to 60% by 2030."
At last spring's bill signing, Whitmer said: "The bipartisan Michigan Reconnect program will connect thousands of Michiganders to good-paying jobs and connect businesses with the talent they need to thrive in their communities. I'm proud of the hard work that has gone into this bill package, and look forward to continue working with the legislature to reach our goal of 60 percent of Michiganders with a postsecondary degree by 2030."