GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Ahead of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's annual State of the State address on Jan. 25, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist visited Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) on Monday to speak with faculty and staff regarding the impact of the state's Michigan Reconnect Program.
Launched in 2021, the program is aimed at providing tuition-free education for Michiganders 25 years and older seeking their associate's degree or skills certificate.
Chairing the House Higher Education Committee, State Representative Carol Glanville (D-Walker), who was also present at the discussion, said that she hopes to market the program as an option for those looking to continue their education.
"We talked, too, about young people who left during COVID, and then giving them some incentive to come back and start their education and then go on to finish," Glanville said.
Following the discussion, Gilchrist told reporters that he believes more work needs to be done.
"I think all the ideas are on the table," Gilchrist said. "When I say there's more to be done, it's because we still have people who may not feel that higher education, that there's a pathway for them or professional training, they may not feel there's a pathway for them. And so we want to create the conditions for people to feel it can make sense for them."
To qualify for the program, applicants must be at least 25 years old, hold a high school diploma or an equivalent, have lived in Michigan for at least the last year, and cannot have previously obtained a college degree.
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