Photo via Shutterstock
Photo via Shutterstock

The deadline is Dec. 31 to apply for tuition-free college. Learn more and submit your application here. 

MICHIGAN—Frontline workers are encouraged to apply for free college tuition to continue their journey towards an associates degree or industry-recognized certificate at a community college by Dec. 31.

Michiganders who have not completed their high school diploma are among those who are eligible, according to Futures for Frontliners, which launched the program in early September.

LEARN MORE: Are You an Essential Worker? Tuition-Free College Aid Is Now Available

Thus far, 100,000 essential workers have applied, placing them on a path to fill the state’s most in-demand positions.

“Our frontline workers put their lives on the line every day to provide crucial support to our families during this pandemic, and they deserve support long after this crisis is over,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.

“That’s what the Futures for Frontliners program is all about. I encourage everyone who is eligible to take advantage of this free path to a degree or skills certificate they’ve been dreaming about.”

The goal of the program is to connect Michigan workers with high-demand, high-wage career opportunities.

“This initiative is not only a way to say, ‘thank you,’ it’s an opportunity to provide a pathway to better paying jobs,” Whitmer said.

SEE ALSO: This Small Michigan College Landed Almost $20 Million During the Pandemic. Others Weren’t So Lucky.

“Remember, Michiganders: mask up, practice safe social distancing, and wash your hands frequently. We will get through this together.”

The initiative has been backed by new regional career data uncovered by the state of Michigan.

“By closely following the labor trends in our state we’ve learned that prioritizing the talent needs is essential to economic growth and prosperity for all,” Kerry Ebersole, Office of Sixty by 30 director said.

Office of Sixty by 30 is an initiative to increase the numbers of Michiganders with training beyond high school to 60% by the year 2030.

“Creating equal access to education opens doors to develop skills that put hardworking Michiganders in a high-demand career, increase pay and fulfill dreams for those seeking a better quality of life for themselves and their families,” Ebersole added.

Those interested in learning more or applying for the program should visit michigan.gov/Frontliners.

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In addition to the free tuition offerings through Futures for Frontliners, Michiganders are encouraged to explore other opportunities to earn college credit or a certificate free of charge through the state’s Sixty by 30 efforts.

Free education and training resources can also be found on the Department of Labor and Education’s Skills to Work page, including opportunities to take College Board’s College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests for free through ModernStates.org.

“With more and more jobs requiring a highly-skilled workforce, we want to make sure people are looking at the top, growing career paths and getting linked up with free-opportunities to learn the skills needed to succeed,” Ebersole added.

State Releases Regional Career Data on In-Demand Occupations

In addition to the Futures program, the state of Michigan has also released new regional career data outlining in-demand occupations, along with educational and training requirements for each position.

The jobs can be found across a broad range of sectors, including information technology, professional trades, healthcare and many others. Salaries for these jobs are considerably higher than the averages found in their local areas.