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Michigan Reconnect helps adult residents earn degree, skills certificate

More than 43,000 Michigan residents have applied to the state’s Reconnect program since its launch in February.


The program offers to pay in-district tuition rates for adults planning on attending a local community college. Funding for the program comes from the state budget, $30 million will help fund scholarships for Reconnect applicants.


Residents must be at least 25 years-old with a high-school diploma or equivalent to apply.


In Mid-Michigan and the Thumb regions, nearly 463,000 residents are eligible for the scholarship opportunity. Bay City resident, Erica Mata applied to the program to studying nursing at Delta College.


"For the last few years, I worried about my student loans, knowing they will be there waiting for me to pay off someday," Mata said. "To be able to start next semester with a Reconnect scholarship and be stress free about student debt will take a huge weight off my shoulders."


This initiative aligns with the state's goal to increase the number of working-age adults with a skills certificate or degree from 45% to 60% by 2030. 


Matthew Felan is President and CEO of Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance. He said with an educated workforce, businesses will be able to hire skilled talent they need to survive and thrive.


"I'm sure it's no surprise to anyone that Michiganders without a college degree or training credentials, often face economic challenges," he said. "An education beyond high school opens the door to many new opportunities with earnings of $7,500 or more per year for those with a two year degree."


The state has not set a deadline for application.


Tess DeGayner is a student reporter for WCMU News. She is a senior at Central Michigan University studying Journalism and Broadcasting. Her hometown is Fenton, Michigan.