This article appeared in the October 2020 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.
MMA President & CEO John J. Walsh joined Governor Gretchen Whitmer in September to launch the Futures for Frontliners program, a scholarship program for essential workers to attend community college tuition-free.
Within the first three weeks of the program’s launch, more than 60,000 Michiganders submitted applications for the scholarship program.
All Michigan essential workers — including manufacturing workers — who have not previously earned an associate or bachelor’s degree and have worked at least part-time for 11 of 13 weeks from 4/1/20 through 6/30/20 are eligible.
The Futures for Frontliners program addresses two critical needs. First, the need to recognize and reward the workers who have been working on the front lines despite the COVID-19 threat. Second, it will help to upskill workers to meet the demands of the 21st century global manufacturing industry.
“Michigan manufacturers have been on the front lines in defense against the COVID-19 threat, creating essential products necessary for daily life; from food and pharmaceuticals, to transportation and even toilet paper,” said Walsh. “The Futures for Frontliners program will recognize these truly-deserving heroes, investing in their personal future as well as the economic future of our state.”
Skilled Talent and a robust workforce are essential to the continued strength of Michigan’s manufacturing industry. Leading into the pandemic, the #1 challenge for Michigan manufacturers was the challenge of locating, training and retaining the skilled trades talent necessary to remain competitive with other states and around the world. While the workplace looks very different today, the challenge remains the same.
Futures for Frontliners will help essential workers advance in their careers and train up in their current company so that they’ll be eligible for promotions and greater pay. The program is flexible so that an essential worker can pursue a college degree or certificate or attain their high school diploma part-time while they work.
- Be a Michigan resident
- Have worked in an essential industry at least part-time for 11 of the 13 weeks between 4/1/20 and 6/30/20
- Have been required by their job to work outside the home at least some of the time between 4/1/20 and 6/30/20
- Not have previously earned an associate or bachelor’s degree
- Not be in default on a federal student loan
- Complete a Futures for Frontliners scholarship application by 11:59 p.m. on 12/31/20
Michigan manufacturers have been on the frontlines in defense against the COVID-19 threat and their productivity will lead the way out of the crisis. MMA is proud to be a Futures for Frontliners Champion.
Applications and resources to promote this opportunity to your workforce are available at michigan.gov/frontliners through 12/31/20.