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Child care professionals encouraged to explore tuition-free opportunities

The Office of Sixty by 30 will be hosting an informational webinar on Dec. 15 at 6 p.m., with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children (MIAEYC) to highlight the benefits of the Michigan Reconnect and T.E.A.C.H. scholarships, so that eligible applicants can maximize the support and resources available to reach their education and career goals.

"Providing tuition-free education opportunities to meet the growing need for skilled talent in child care and early education career fields is a key component to Michigan's economic success," said Susan Corbin, Director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.

The early education and child care career field currently faces two distinct challenges - low wages and high turnover. Access to opportunities where teaching and child care professionals can maintain employment while furthering their education is essential to not only increase their compensation, but also to retain skilled talent in our state.

"The Michigan Reconnect and T.E.A.C.H. scholarships provide a great opportunity to help more Michiganders increase their education and paychecks, which in turn helps us meet the growing demand for quality child care in Michigan," said Orlene Hawks, Director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

LARA regulates child care providers and is working to license more providers across the state to address critical shortages. Programs like Reconnect and T.E.A.C.H. are important tools in talent development that can be used for people to finish the degree or certification required to be licensed. LARA will briefly share licensing information and will be available to answer questions during the webinar.

Michigan Reconnect, which has nearly 88,000 accepted applicants since its launch in Feb. 2021, provides a tuition-free path to an associate degree or Pell-eligible skill certificate at an in-district community college for eligible adults without a college degree.

The is a statewide initiative designed to help Michiganders interested in pursuing a degree or credential in early childhood education (e.g., child care center teaching staff, preschool teachers, family child care providers, group home owners, center directors, early childhood professionals and administrators) meet their professional development goals while enrolled part-time.

"Combining a Michigan Reconnect and T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship allows students to maximize the amount of support they receive to earn a degree or credential in early childhood education," said Kelsey Laird, Director of Professional Programs for MIAEYC. "The scholarships work together to allow students to have more credit hours paid for and to provide additional financial and student counseling supports. This webinar will provide an overview of everything these programs can cover for students and break down the application process and requirements for both. Using Reconnect and T.E.A.C.H. together is a win-win for early childhood educators."

Child care professionals are urged to join representatives from these two scholarship opportunities on Dec. 15 to learn how they can return to school tuition-free at their in-district community college. Attendees will also be able to have their questions answered by the presenters.

Those interested in learning more are encouraged to register for the webinar at

To learn more about Michigan Reconnect, visit