Dear Crabby, Do Essential Workers Need, or even Want, Free Tuition?

Dear Crabby, Do Essential Workers Need, or even Want, Free Tuition?

Sincerely, Libby Scholae

Dear Libby,

Great question. I started wondering about this too. Don’t most of these folks already have a degree? And if they don’t, do they want to quit their jobs to take online classes at a community college?

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop
Dear Crabby Gives Advice

Michigan, under the guidance of Governor Whitmer, plans to use $24 million from the Cares Act to send 650,00 essential workers back to school to get a free 2-year degree at a community college. First of all, those federal funds are for the state and it’s residents – why does she get to pick who receives the benefits of those funds? Do you really want to send 650,000 essential workers to school – if they truly are “essential” don’t we need them working at their jobs right now?

Sure, they may be able to do both, but I wonder why we are rewarding the people who got to keep their jobs during the pandemic. Maybe because we paid unemployed people more to stay home rather than work, and those who had to work were jealous, and now they’re getting their cut with free tuition.

So who is “essential?” Well, anyone who worked through the shutdown – healthcare and public safety, agriculture and food production, mechanics, grocery and hardware stores, communication, media, law enforcement, plumbers, electricians, transportation, banks, nonprofits, utility companies, and of course government workers – people who had to leave their homes to go to work.

Besides being labeled “essential,” these folks have to qualify in other ways. They need to be a resident of Michigan, have worked at least part-time for 11 of the 13 weeks during April, May, and June, not be in default for a federal student loan, and not already have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. I suspect many of those folks already have a degree – doctors, nurses, cops, trade industries, etc. How many of the 650,000 don’t have a degree?

I guess time will tell. Certainly, younger people who worked at a drug store or grocery store may not have their degree yet, and perhaps older folks who drive a bus or answer phones at a utility company may qualify. But I’m guessing not that many. And again, how many will leave their job to go to community college?

Hopefully, some readers will comment. I’m really curious, if you qualify will you take advantage of the Future for Frontliners program? You have until December 31, 2020 to fill-out the application.

Sincerely, Dear Crabby.

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  1. Yvonne Verschueren says

    Dear Crabby,
    There were a lot “essential” workers that came to mind that would qualify for the Scholarship program. Most aides who work in nursing homes have only training, at the most CNA (Certified Nursing Aide) training. There are also people who work in hospitals who have CNA positions as well as other positions who would benefit from the scholarships. Grocery store workers are of all ages and some may be encouraged by the scholarship program. All of the Essential Workers who immediately come to mind have a large backup team, many of whom could certainly take advantage of the program. Let’s not forget sanitation workers, transportation workers such as bus drivers, delivery people, even the workers at the pizza store were all designated “essential” workers. Remember that there are many technical programs available at Community Colleges as well as Associate Degrees. I hope the word gets out so that everyone who wishes can sign up.

  2. Sharon Robinson says

    Wow, Crabby – It seems you are aptly named. “Why are we rewarding the people who got to keep their jobs during the pandemic”? Perhaps it is because … they put their lives on the line to keep us going? Are you saying that this is not worthy of the “reward” to better themselves?

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