As Michigan students head into summer break, I wanted to provide a pertinent, exciting update on the Michigan Reconnect Program. As a reminder, the Reconnect program, launched in early 2021, provides scholarships to adult learners 25 years of age or older who return to school to earn their first associate degree or skilled trades certification. As you can see, it has helped tens of thousands of Michiganders receive the education they need to thrive professionally.
In late May, I proudly partnered again with my colleague, Majority Floor Leader Ben Frederick, to introduce legislation that would expand and enhance the Michigan Reconnect Program. My bill, House Bill 6130, would expand the program to temporarily include 21-24 year old students to address education gaps caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, the bill allows for Reconnect Short Term Training Grants for career training programs. These programs, ranging from eight to 15 weeks, would allow adult students to attain industry-recognized credentials that are stackable, portable and shown to increase post-program completion earnings by at least 20%. This allowance mirrors federal legislation to expand Pell Grant eligibility to the same type of short-term programs.
The other bill in this package, HB 6129, focuses on accountability and transparency measures for community colleges. This includes conditions under which an institution would become ineligible to accept new Reconnect students, namely if their year-over-year completion rate is not improving, as well as implementation of nationally recognized best practices for serving the adult learner population. These best practices include competency-based courses and programs, awarding credit for prior learning, providing work-based learning opportunities, holistic student support services, and stackable industry-recognized micro credentials within programs, among others. Community colleges would also be incentivized to accept and award credit for college-level credit examinations, such as CLEP and DSST, allowing students to pursue maximum acceleration options through their programs.
Building upon the ongoing success of the Michigan Reconnect program is imperative as we continue to grapple with the effects of the pandemic. We must continue the momentum to help drive innovation specific to adult learners in Michigan’s community colleges and strive to increase the number of residents with a college degree or skill certificate to meet the needs of our evolving economy.
If you or someone you know is interested in the Michigan Reconnect Program, you can click here to learn more.
My team and I are always hard at work for our community. If you, or someone you know, wants to provide any feedback about what’s happening in Lansing or needs assistance of any sort, please feel free to reach out to us at any time. You can email us at SarahAnthony@house.mi.gov or call (517) 373-0826.