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State Budget Includes Nearly $60M for Education, Workforce Development

With Gov. Whitmer signing the 2021 budget, a new spending plan is in place for Michigan starting Oct. 1.

The budget includes $30 million for the Michigan Reconnect program – a long-time Chamber priority – to provide a tuition-free pathway for adults looking to upskill and earn a postsecondary certificate or associate degree.

“For Michigan to succeed in the global race for talent, we need effective tools that help our citizens get the skills the 21st-century economy demands,” said Sandy K. Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “I could not be more pleased that Gov. Whitmer and the Legislature have prioritized the Michigan Reconnect program in this difficult budget year. It is a proven model to help adults in the workforce achieve their next level of skill development and professional success that also strengthens the talent pipeline for employers.”

Implementing Reconnect will help close the skills gap and move the state closer to reaching 60% postsecondary educational attainment by 2030, a Chamber goal the Governor backed last year. The Chamber and Detroit Drives Degrees also announced the Detroit Regional Talent Compact Sept. 30, creating unprecedented regional collaboration and bringing together more than 35 regional partners to provide a blueprint to achieve that goal.

The 2021 budget funds another Chamber priority by providing $28.7 million for the Going PRO program to support job training grants to businesses to support training for current and new employees in high-demand, skilled trades industries. This is part of critical funding for programs within the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) and the Michigan Economic Development Corp., including $100 million for business attraction efforts.

In addition, new funding of $3 million is provided for a statewide pre-apprenticeship program with the goal of developing qualified candidates for building trades apprenticeships in the construction industry. Funding for the popular Pure Michigan campaign is set at $15 million.

Read the full budget announcement.