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Lt. Gov. Gilchrist II kicks off ‘Reconnect on Campus’ week for adults to explore educational opportunities
July 17, 2023
27 community and tribal colleges to take part in Michigan Reconnect’s enrollment campaign to help more adults earn a degree or certificate
LANSING, Mich.—Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II kicked off “Reconnect on Campus” week highlighting the tuition-free Michigan Reconnect scholarship and the events being held at 27 community and tribal colleges across Michigan this week to help more working-age adults enroll in degree or certificate programs.
“Higher education and skilled credentials are the key to securing a better future for working families and ensuring the economic vibrancy of our state for decades to come,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “Michigan Reconnect has put hundreds of thousands of Michiganders on a tuition free path to higher education and skills training. We want that number to grow even larger, and Reconnect on Campus week will remove as many obstacles to enrolling as possible. Governor Whitmer and I will continue working hard to ensure more Michigander can go back to school or training and envision bright futures for themselves.”
To promote tuition-free certificate and degree opportunities through Michigan Reconnect, community and tribal colleges are hosting a weeklong series of events starting today as part of a statewide effort to connect working-age adults with resources they need to enroll and complete their community college journey.
While each college will hold individual events on their campus, the “Reconnect on Campus” week is part of a coordinated effort led by the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) and the colleges with support from the Michigan Community College Association, other educational organizations, business leaders and former and current Reconnectors.
Michigan Reconnect is the largest effort in state history to ensure that working-age Michiganders who do not have a college degree — more than 4.1 million in all — will have an opportunity to earn an associate degree or skills certificate with free or discounted tuition. Since the program’s launch in February 2021, more than 123,000 Michiganders have been accepted into the program, of which 27,000 have enrolled and at least 2,800 have already earned a degree or certificate.
State officials and local partners encourage more working-age Michiganders to join the 123,000+ individuals who in the last two years have taken the first step toward earning a college degree or skills certificate through Michigan Reconnect.
“Michigan Reconnect has already seen great success in providing tuition-free opportunities to working-age adults to earn a college degree or certificate, and we want to make sure everyone who is eligible takes advantage of this opportunity so that no one is left behind,” said Susan Corbin, LEO director. “The Great Lakes State has the greatest workers anywhere. Our goal is to train them for high-paying, in-demand jobs now and in the future.”
LEO’s Office of Sixty by 30 Director Sarah Szurpicki encouraged anyone already accepted in the Reconnect program but not yet enrolled, as well as those who want to learn more about Reconnect, to attend any or all of the various events throughout the week at the college of their choice. She added that the state’s support network of Michigan Reconnect Navigators can help applicants with any problems or questions that might be preventing them from enrolling and encourages them to book a one-on-one appointment.
“We know that the steps to enrolling can sometimes seem overwhelming and discouraging. We want every Reconnect applicant to know there is support to ensure they are successful in completing their degree or certificate program,” Szurpicki said. “That’s one of the reasons the colleges are holding ‘Reconnect on Campus’ events – it’s a one-stop shop concept to remove barriers for adults interested in enrolling with their local community or tribal college. These events are a reminder that Reconnect applicants are one of thousands of other individuals who have decided ‘it’s never too late’ to pursue their dreams – they are not alone.”
Michigan Community College Association President Brandy Johnson characterized the Michigan Reconnect program as a big win for working-age adults, their families and the state overall. She also said the program has helped community colleges stabilize enrollment and rethink their student services approach.
“Reconnect has significantly grown the number of adult learners in our state,” Johnson said. “We continue to work with the state and other stakeholders to overcome barriers by adding or expanding services like transportation and child care to meet the needs of our students and potential students.”
To learn more about the events happening in your area, visit your local community college in person or online. You can also access the community college events through the Michigan Reconnect website.
Michigan Reconnect pays the cost of in-district tuition for eligible adults who want to pursue an associate degree or skills certificate at any of Michigan’s public community colleges or its three tribal colleges. More information is available at michigan.gov/Reconnect.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s FY24 education budget expands Michigan Reconnect to residents aged 21 and up, offering tuition-free paths to an associate degree or skills certificate for 350,000 more Michiganders. It also continues funding the bipartisan Michigan Achievement Scholarship which starts this Fall, lowering costs for 80% of students by thousands of dollars at community, private, or public colleges and universities. Finally, it increases funding for community colleges and universities so they can improve the on-campus experience and keep students safe.