One Governor's Plan to Provide Free Tuition to Essential Workers

A sign alerts shoppers to practice social distancing, due to the coronavirus, while in the checkout line at a grocery store, Saturday, March 28, 2020 in Troy, Mich.

A sign alerts shoppers to practice social distancing, due to the coronavirus, while in the checkout line at a grocery store, Saturday, March 28, 2020 in Troy, Mich. Associated Press

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's proposal would offer a "tuition-free" pathway to post-secondary education to grocery store employees, delivery people and sanitation workers, as well as health care workers on the frontlines during the coronavirus pandemic.

Essential workers in Michigan who are risking their lives to perform crucial work during the coronavirus pandemic, including grocery store employees, nurses and sanitation workers, would be eligible for free college tuition under a proposal announced this week by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The “Futures for Frontliners” plan is based on the federal GI bill, which provided free education to soldiers returning from World War II. It would provide a “tuition-free pathway to college or a technical certificate” to essential workers without a college degree. Eligible workers include a wide range of people working jobs outside their homes, such as people helping manufacture PPE, first responders and truck drivers who deliver supplies.

"Historically when Americans put their lives on the line to defend the rest of us from a foreign enemy, we have shown our gratitude by giving them educational opportunities to improve their lives," Whitmer said during a press conference on Wednesday. "Our enemy in this instance is a virus, but our frontline workers are just as heroic, and that's why it's important for us to extend some gratitude, and some opportunity, once we are beyond this moment."

Whitmer said the program would be funded from federal coronavirus relief money allocated to the state through the CARES Act, with supplementary dollars available through programs that are designed to improve workers’ skills. She did not elaborate on when the program would begin or how eligible workers would apply for assistance. 

The program would require legislative approval. If enacted, it would be the first of its kind in the country. Whitmer said she hoped to work with the same bipartisan coalition that helped pass legislation last month to provide grant money for community college to adults over the age of 25 without college degrees.

But more recently Whitmer's relationship with the Republican-controlled state legislature has not been so cordial. On Thursday, the governor issued an executive order to extend the state’s coronavirus emergency declaration after the lawmakers advanced a bill that did not renew the original declaration. The new state of emergency and state of disaster will expire on May 28.

Republican legislative leadership have said they will challenge Whitmer's new order in court, arguing that they should have a voice in how and when to reopen the economy. Meanwhile, protesters—including some carrying firearms—gathered in the state capitol building on Thursday to rally against stay-at-home mandates. Whitmer and public health experts in Michigan have said continued restrictions are still necessary to try to contain spread of the disease.

As of Friday morning, there were 41,379 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Michigan, with 3,789 deaths. 

 Kate Elizabeth Queram is a Staff Correspondent for Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

FEATURED CASE STUDIES
Powered By The Atlas
MN Water District and High School Collaborate on Stormwater and Education
Forest Lake, MN, USA
New Parking Plaza Adds Capacity & Embraces Sustainability at San Diego Airport
San Diego, CA, USA
Chula Vista creates a Digital Equity and Inclusion Plan
Chula Vista, CA, USA

NEXT STORY: Across the Country, Local Officials Hope New Rules Will Help Parks Reopen Safely

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.