Oakland County launches program to support success for residents in Futures for Frontliners, Michigan Reconnect Education programs

Oakland County Michigan Works! is launching a first-of-its-kind program that provides residents enrolled in the state’s Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect programs with funding to cover the costs of books, supplies and other related expenses, as well as supportive services such as transportation and childcare, as they return to school to obtain an advanced degree or credential.

Futures for Frontliners, targeting essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic without college degrees or credentials, and Michigan Reconnect, focusing on residents 25 years old or older with less than an associate’s degree, cover tuition costs for participants, but not other expenses associated with returning to school or completing a training program.

“Supporting our residents who aspire to earn credits or credentials to get better jobs is vital to their future and the economic strength of our county,” said Oakland County Executive David Coulter.  “Our workforce offices, career  advisors – and now these financial resources – are here to help residents succeed.

Coulter added the program aligns with Oakland80, Oakland County’s goal to have 80 percent of eligible county residents getting a training credential or college degree by 2030.

“Oakland80 is an ambitious goal, but it’s one that is attainable,” said Coulter, noting that 61 percent of the county’s adults already have a college degree or training certificate. “It’s a win-win for our county. Our residents get the training they need to set them on a successful career path. And businesses will know that Oakland County is full of skilled and trained workers who can fill the jobs at their companies when they’re making decisions on where to locate.”

Futures for Frontliners is a state scholarship program for Michigan residents without college degrees who worked in essential industries during the state’s COVID-19 shutdown in the spring of 2020.  The scholarship provides frontline workers with tuition-free access to a local community college to pursue an associate’s degree or a skills certificate.

Michigan Reconnect is a scholarship program for residents age 25 and older that pays tuition to attend one’s in-district community college, or a large tuition discount for attending an out-of-district community college.  Persons interested in a skills certificate from a private training provider can received a $1,500 scholarship toward enrollment in an approved training program.

“We’re very excited to be able to offer this unique program in Oakland County, made possible through the American Rescue Plan,” said Jennifer Llewellyn, director of Oakland County Michigan Works!  “With the new year and semester approaching, teams at our six Oakland County Michigan Works! service centers are ready to qualify eligible adults  for this valuable support to help them return to school and training programs, as well as address other needs they may have.”

Oakland County residents who are enrolled in these state of Michigan programs and in need of such supportive services should contact their local Oakland County Michigan Works! service center to schedule an appointment to discuss with a career advisor.

Oakland County Michigan Works! operates service centers in Novi, Oak Park, Pontiac, Southfield, Troy, and Waterford, where they assist more than 105,000 job seekers annually. Services include career coaching, interviewing and job search workshops, placement assistance, training courses and job trend information.

The service centers also assist more than 3,000 employers seeking help with talent recruitment, apprenticeship programs, job fairs, candidate pre-screening, hiring and training support, layoff support and labor market data.

Service center staffs are available in-person or by virtual appointment to work one-on-one with job seekers to build their resumes, prepare for job interviews and help address other needs. To schedule a meeting, call 248-858-5520 and select the office nearest to you. The service centers are hosting several virtual workshops for job seekers. A schedule can be found at OaklandCountyMIWorks.com.

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