LANSING, Mich., Feb. 25, 2021 — State Reps. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores) and Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth Twp.) introduced House Bills 4368 and 4369 this week. The bills would create a grant for paraprofessionals to receive tuition-free teacher certification education.

“These bills are a common-sense way to give those who have served in our classrooms for years a chance for upward mobility,” said Hertel. “We constantly talk about how to attract and retain teacher talent and giving back to those who have already proven their classroom skills is a great way to help solve Michigan’s teacher shortage.”

HB 4368 establishes the eligibility for the grant, which includes two separate pathways for paraprofessionals who currently have an associate degree or equivalent and those who do not. HB 4369 specifies the grant’s funding mechanism.

“Having served as a teacher for years before being elected, I know the hard work that paraprofessionals put in every day for our students,” Koleszar added. “They’ve served on the front lines of education throughout the pandemic, and it’s time our state gives back to them as well.”

Both bills were referred to the Workforce, Trades, and Talent Committee and are awaiting a hearing.