Gogebic Community College announces support for Michigan’s new Reconnect program
Gogebic Community College announced that it will serve as a Champion to support the Michigan Reconnect program unveiled Tuesday, Feb. 2, in Lansing by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in an effort to help address a widening skills gap within the state’s workforce. Hundreds of leading Michigan businesses, community and legislative leaders say Reconnect is exactly what state employers need to alleviate the shortage of highly skilled and capable workers. “We believe Michigan Reconnect will not only help individuals and families pursue their dreams, but it will also help build a strong economy that requires a talented and modern workforce to compete for the jobs of the future,” said Dr. George McNulty, GCC President. As a Champion, GCC has committed to spreading the word about the opportunity Michigan Reconnect is providing for eligible adults locally and statewide. In order to be eligible for Michigan Reconnect, adults must meet the following criteria:
— Age 25 or older
— High school graduate or equivalent
— Michigan resident for at least one year
— Not yet completed a college degree (associate or bachelor’s)
Michigan Reconnect will help pay the costs of tuition for eligible adults who live in Gogebic County and want to pursue an associate degree. For those adult students living outside of Gogebic County, but in Michigan, Reconnect will only pay the in-district part of the tuition so the student is responsible for the remaining balance. For students who receive other state or federal grant aid, Reconnect will cover remaining eligible expenses that aren’t paid for by other programs like Pell, Tuition Incentive Program (TIP) or other state tuition awards.
As of 2019, only 42% of Michigan’s working-age residents had an associate degree or higher. A 2020 analysis by the American Association of Community Colleges reported the median earnings of full-time employees with a high school degree is $40,510 annually, while those with an associate degree make $50,079 per year, based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Michigan employers’ ability to find highly skilled employees is more difficult than ever and is cited as a top concern in the most recent Michigan Future Business Index Report. Michigan Reconnect will help address the dual challenges of the state’s widening talent gap and aging workforce. “We encourage area residents who want to secure their future by pursuing a satisfying, in-demand career to take advantage of what Michigan Reconnect is offering,” said Dr. McNulty. The application and additional program information are available now at Michigan.gov/Reconnect, with enrollment in classes beginning May 2021.