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2021 Accomplishments Countdown: Education and Skills


December 23, 2021 


2021 Accomplishments Countdown: Education and Skills  

Governor Whitmer counts down to 2022 by highlighting administration's progress on 10 kitchen-table issues that makes a difference in people's lives 

LANSING, Mich. - The Whitmer-Gilchrist administration is counting down the last 10 days of 2021 by celebrating Michigan's progress on 10 fundamental kitchen-table issues. Today we celebrate progress Michigan has made on education and skills.  

"Every Michigander has a birthright to a phenomenal public education and a path to a good-paying, in-demand job," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "Together, we have made historic investments in our public schools without raising taxes to give every kid in every community an opportunity to pursue their potential. We have also helped hundreds of thousands of Michiganders take steps towards pursuing their potential, powering our economy to new highs by helping small businesses staff up. We will continue finding ways to put our kids on track to graduate and pursue postsecondary education, skills training, or good-paying jobs." 

Getting Things Done 

From her first day in office, Governor Whitmer has worked to expand opportunities and improve outcomes for Michiganders. Governor Whitmer made the largest education investment in state history-without raising taxes-to close the funding gap between schools in Michigan, expand access to preschool program for 22,000 more four-year-olds, and distribute resources to expand mental health supports for our kids. These historic investments ensure our schools have the funds to help each and every Michigander reach their full potential. The Governor also believes that every Michigander deserves a path to a high wage job, and she is committed to making college degrees and skill certificates available and affordable for more residents. Since last Sept., over 170,000 Michiganders applied for scholarships through Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners, two programs she created to put people on tuition-free paths to better-paying jobs. 

Key Numbers 

  • $8,700 per student closes funding gap between schools, part of largest education investment in state history. 
  • 100% of eligible four-year-olds can attend free, high-quality preschool under Michigan's home-grown Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP). 
  • 170,000 Michiganders on path to good-paying jobs because of Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners. 

Looking Ahead 

  • Governor Whitmer will always strive to make bigger, bolder investments in our kids, teachers, and schools because when they succeed, we all succeed. 
  • She knows that children are learning from birth and all children deserve quality early learning experiences, like our nationally recognized preschool program. 
  • She will keep working to achieve Sixty by 30-preparing individuals and our state to complete in a global economy by increasing the number of adults with a degree or skill certificate to 60% by 2030.  

Additional education and skills accomplishments can be found here. 

"Raised by a single mom and my grandmother, I grew up moving all over southeast Michigan until the burden became too much and I was forced into the foster care system," said Shelby Bliss Essenmachera 30-year-old Michigan Reconnect student attending Wayne County Community College District pursuing an Associates of Applied Science degree to become a RN. "I was forced to live on my own before completing high school and attended some college until I had to withdraw to prevent crippling student debt. College and earning a livable wage always seemed like a pipe dream for me. On top of that, the pandemic made things seem impossible, but Reconnect has given me hope by offering me the opportunity to do something about it and help be a part of the change. Without this scholarship I could never afford to become a nurse and make a real difference in facing this pandemic head on. Reconnect has given me hope for the future and for myself." 

"Gov. Gretchen Whitmer listens closely to the voices of educators, and she takes our expertise to heart before acting on education issues," said Paula Herbart, MEA president and Macomb County music teacher. "She also oversaw the largest increase in public school funding in Michigan's history - and she did it without raising taxes. Governor Whitmer is committed to finding real solutions to the educator shortage, and she's working shoulder to shoulder with parents and educators to get students the resources they need to succeed coming out of the pandemic." 

"It's been a difficult year for students and educators across the state, but thanks to Gov. Whitmer's leadership and her push for historic investment in public education, we have a chance to build a better future for students across Michigan regardless of where they live," said David Hecker, president of AFT Michigan. "Her push to close the funding gap means at-risk students are getting the support they need, and more students have access to important mental health services right at school. Our public schools are where we'll find Michigan's next generation of leaders and problem solvers and Gov. Whitmer has shown she'll always step up for them and the educators who support them."   

"Bay College is thrilled to serve 447 Future for Frontliners and Reconnect students," said Bay College President Laura Coleman. "These students are completing degrees with skills in nursing, business, social work, computer information systems, networking, paramedics, robotics and mechatronics, and early childhood education. These skills are in high demand in the Upper Peninsula and in Michigan. Bay College is honored to be here for the students and community!" 

"It's been great to see so many working age adults take advantage of Michigan Reconnect to advance their skills and complete their education. It's all about improving the quality of life for local families and providing a much-needed skilled workforce for area employers," said Lake Michigan College President Dr. Trevor A. Kubatzke.