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New initiative would provide schooling for essential workers in Michigan

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Posted at 2:40 PM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 16:44:50-04

LANSING, Mich. -- Governor Gretchen Whitmer has announced a G.I. Bill program initiative that would provide schooling for essential workers in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The "Futures for Frontliners" program is aimed to provide a tuition-free pathway to college or a technical certificate to essential workers who don't have a college degree.

The program includes workers like those staffing hospitals and nursing homes, stocking shelves at grocery stores, providing childcare to critical workers, manufacturing PPE, protecting public safety, picking up trash or delivering supplies.

“The Futures for Frontliners program is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to those who have risked their lives on the front lines of this crisis. This program will ensure tuition-free college opportunities and give these dedicated Michiganders an opportunity to earn a technical certificate, associate degree or even a bachelor’s degree,” Governor Whitmer said. “I want to assure all of our workers we will never forget those of you who stepped up and sacrificed their own health during this crisis. You’re the reason we’re going to get through this.”

The program was reportedly inspired by the federal government’s support of soldiers returning from World War II by providing educational opportunities.

Whitmer also announced that she is expanding the state’s Workshare Program to allow employers to reduce employee hours to receive weekly unemployment insurance (UI) benefits as well as the additional $600 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) weekly benefit. Both benefits will be funded through federal dollars.

This story was originally published by staff at WXYZ.