(W X Y Z) – Some Michigan community colleges are seeing an increase in enrollment thanks to state programs such as Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect.
The pandemic is playing a role in increasing the number of people returning to class. Monroe County Community College is one of three community colleges in Michigan to see double-digit enrollment growth.
Many young workers during the pandemic considered changing careers because the pandemic changed their outlook on life.
The pandemic has changed the way people learn, communicate and work.
It also changed the way people viewed their lives, personally and professionally, and what was important.
Mira South is a student at Monroe County Community College; she is a single mother of 11 year old twins. She wants them to have a bright future.
She wanted to do something different after working for a high school where she worked as a teacher’s aide for K-12 students, motivating them during the pandemic. She says the work was rewarding and that she has always had a passion for working with children which impacts their lives.
But Mira wanted to pursue her dream, so she went back to school.
âI felt it was important for me to go back to school and be an example for my children,â she said.
She is now graduating in childcare and business management.
âMy end goal is to own a youth center,â she said.
Fortunately, thanks to Michigan Reconnect, students 25 and older could have applied to attend community college for free. It was funded with $ 30 million from the state, which is applied towards tuition, and Pell grants after compulsory fees, which were passed by Governor Whitmer and a bipartisan group of legislatures.
The program’s goal is to have nearly 60 percent of Michiganders with a post-secondary degree by 2030. Almost 170,000 people applied, breaking the target of 60,000 applicants.
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MICHIGAN RECONNECT
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FUTURE FOR THE FRONTLINERS
The Future for Frontliners was another program that provided essential workers with similar benefits without tuition.
Monroe County Community College President Dr Kojo Quartey says they have seen many students decide to return to school, 50 percent of classes are in person. The other half is online.
âAnother reason students come to us is that they can reach us remotely,â said Quartey.
Many community colleges like the Wayne County Community College District and Monroe County Community College are seeing an increase in the number of people entering trade schools to become welders, plumbers and construction workers.
They are also seeing an increase in the number of people turning to the tech field.
Marvez Bryant has just left the United States Marine Corps after spending four years traveling the world, stationed in Norway to Japan.
âI just felt it was time for a change. So I came home,â said Bryant.
He currently works at a gas station, but hopes that one day he will be a leader in the Detroit business community.
He is now going back to school at Wayne County Community College District to earn his degree in Commerce and International Trade.
“University is a good way to … let me change careers or allow me to have a different aspect of the world and learn something, whether it’s for your next career or to be up to date on something “, did he declare.
And for Mira, like so many others, they want a change to improve themselves while helping others and giving back to their communities.
âI just worked a lot, I just worked, worked worked. And I’m like, “You know, if I can put all this work in someone else’s business, in someone else’s, I can do it for myself,” said Mira South. .