Michigan residents who work out-of-state are currently disqualified
State Rep. Brad Paquette, of Niles, is urging Gov. Whitmer to expand the Future for Frontliners scholarship to all Michigan residents who work in the health care industry, even if they work in Indiana, Ohio or Wisconsin. Under the current system, Michiganders who work outside of Michigan do not qualify for the program.
The state scholarship program aims to benefit employees of essential industries who worked during the COVID shutdown this past spring. The scholarship provides frontline workers with tuition-free access to local community college in order to pursue an associate degree or a skills certificate, either full-time or part-time while working.
“Health care workers put their lives on the line daily this year, and traumatic experiences became the norm for them,” said Paquette, whose district neighbors the Indiana border. “No matter where these heroic individuals worked, Michigan residents working in the health care field at the height of the pandemic deserve this opportunity.”
To be eligible, the website lays out the following key requirements:
- Workers must be Michigan residents
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent
- Have worked in an essential industry at least part-time for 11 of the 13 weeks between April 1 and June 30, 2020
- Have been required by their job to work outside the home at least some of the time between April 1 – June 30, 2020
- Not have previously earned an associate or bachelor’s degree
- Not be in default on a federal student loan
- Complete a Futures for Frontliners scholarship application by 11:59 pm on December 31, 2020
While the requirement to reside in Michigan is clear, Paquette says the fact that applicants must also work in the state is not readily apparent. Many applicants who live near the border of Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, or Canada have submitted their applications only to be denied due to their work location.
Rep. Paquette speaks on the House floor Tuesday afternoon prior to passage of a two bill package that would create a Student Opportunity Scholarship program in Michigan to help families with education expenses. Rep. Paquette says the plan will help the state move from what he calls the “cult of the average.”
State Rep. Brad Paquette, of Niles, today expressed full opposition to Berrien Regional Educational Service Agency’s (RESA) newly adopted policy granting 10 additional paid sick leave days to employees vaccinated against COVID-19 to be used if they contract or are exposed to the virus, but not to unvaccinated employees.