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Whitmer signs proclamation marking June 17 as Essential Worker Appreciation Day

The governor said she is thankful for all the workers who stepped up throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a proclamation Thursday marking June 17 as Essential Worker Appreciation day. The governor said she is thankful for all the workers who stepped up throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“From staffing our hospitals to keeping our grocery store shelves stocked, essential workers selflessly served during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the well-being of their fellow Michiganders,” Whitmer said. “We all owe them a debt of gratitude.”

"This year was the toughest year of our lives. Essential workers are proud of how we showed up for our communities but now, we need support," said Tamara Blue, nursing home CNA and member of SEIU Healthcare Michigan. "We've been called heroes, but not treated as such. We work hard, but still can't afford basic needs, like rent and healthcare. Many of us can't afford to take time off to recover after this traumatic year.

“It is time for that to change -- for essential workers to be valued and respected. It means a lot to see Governor Whitmer recognizing the commitment and sacrifices of essential workers. We know lifting up essential workers is how we can build a better future, where all Michiganders can live with dignity and respect."

In 2020, Whitmer launched the Futures for Frontliners program, which provides essential workers with tuition-free pathways to college or technical certification. So far, over 120,000 frontline workers have applied for the program, according to the state.

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