The following is a statement from Ryan Fewins-Bliss, Executive Director of MCAN:

 LANSING, Mich. — “The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus has significantly altered the lives of people around the world. Michiganders have been protected by numerous front-line professionals: grocery store staff, doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, to name a few.

The governor’s announcement today, creating the Futures for Frontliners program that provides a tuition-free pathway to a college certificate or associate degree for those who have sacrificed so much, is a wonderful and appropriate way to show our appreciation for their service and their bravery. It is incumbent upon all of us who have benefited from their efforts to invest in their future professional lives. This will ultimately help our communities and our state to recover from this crisis — individually and economically.

MCAN stands by the governor with this bold action that supports the statewide ‘Sixty by 30’ goal: to increase the rate of Michigan adults with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 60% by the year 2030. We will work to ensure our priority populations are well-served by this program including students of color, first-generation college-going students and low-income students. These populations have been systemically shut out of access to college, have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and are more likely to work in the low-wage jobs that are often on the front lines of this crisis.

Everyday, we are working with Michigan’s education community to propel us out of this pandemic with a focus on the future. Rewarding these frontline professionals with an educational opportunity is the right thing to do.

MCAN has been working with the Michigan Works! Association on supporting adults returning to complete a certificate or degree. This week, more than 200 Michigan Works! service center staff members were trained on financial aid to better serve Michigan residents who seek the services of Michigan Works!

MCAN commends the Governor and her administration for their leadership of the pandemic and for this bold announcement that will enhance Michigan for generations to come.”


ABOUT THE MICHIGAN COLLEGE ACCESS NETWORK (MCAN)

As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN works to improve the futures of Michigan’s students and communities by making college accessible to all. MCAN’s work centers on one main goal: To increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60% by 2030. MCAN engages partners statewide who are committed to systems-level change and the reduction of barriers to increase college readiness, participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college-going students, and students of color. MCAN has helped Michigan’s postsecondary attainment rate increase for the 10th consecutive year. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org.

Media Contact: 

  • Christopher Tremblay
  • Email: Christopher(a)micollegeaccess.org 
  • Cell: (517) 816-7774