EAST TAWAS – Those involved in the adult education program at Iosco Regional Educational Service Agency (Iosco RESA), are showing their support of a new offering for frontline workers.

As reported, applications are being accepted for the Futures for Frontliners program, and hopefuls have until Thursday, Dec. 31 to apply. Post-secondary enrollment will be available beginning in January 2021.

Announced recently by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the program provides a tuition-free pathway to an associate’s degree or technical certificate for essential workers who do not have a college degree.

IRESA Adult Education will serve as a Frontliners Champion to support the program.

“We believe strongly that those who were required to work during the state shutdown this past spring so that the rest of us could stay safe are heroes and deserve our thanks,” declared Whitney Dettmer, assistant director of adult education at Iosco RESA.

“Many of the men and women we represent were out in the community putting their health and lives on the line,” she continued. “Providing these frontline workers in essential industries with access to tuition-free community college – even if they don’t have their high school diploma or equivalency – to pursue their career and personal dreams is a wonderful way to say, ‘thank you’ – they earned this.”

As a Frontliners Champion, Iosco RESA Adult Education has committed to making sure that members know about this opportunity.

Futures for Frontliners offers Michiganders who worked in essential industries during the April 1 through June 30 period, but who do not have a college degree, free tuition to their local community college to pursue an associate degree or a skills certificate on a full-time or part-time basis while they continue to work.

Those without a high school diploma or equivalency will be eligible for services to help them prepare for and complete this credential, and go on to a community college or job training program. 

To apply and learn more about Futures for Frontliners, visit www.Michigan.gov/Frontliners.

Dettmer notes that Iosco RESA offers high school diplomas and equivalencies (GED or HiSET). To enroll in adult education to finish your diploma or GED/HiSET equivalency, call or text Dettmer at 305-8063, or visit https://www.ioscoresa.net/adult-education/.

Iosco RESA Adult Education has locations in East Tawas, Oscoda, West Branch, Lincoln, Atlanta, Gaylord, Onaway, Cheboygan, Rogers City and Alpena.

According to Dettmer, Iosco RESA is the only provider of adult education in the eight counties that they serve: Iosco, Ogemaw, Otsego, Montmorency, Alcona, Presque Isle, Alpena and Cheboygan.

“We send for transcripts from all prior schools and sometimes people only have a couple of classes to complete to graduate,” she explained.

“Our classes are all online, and we can even enroll virtually, but teachers are available to help in-person in our labs or online,” she pointed out.

“Finishing high school is life-changing! I think people have a fear about going back to finish, but we have teachers and partners at each lab who help participants navigate through the program, connect with needed resources and find a job or post-secondary program when they complete their high school credential,” Dettmer went on. “Now, more than ever, a high school credential can be a jumping off point for bigger and better things, whether someone worked through the shutdown or not.”

As previously reported, the state of Michigan has identified the following as essential industries:

Food and agriculture; health care and public health; law enforcement, public safety and first responders; communications and information technology, including news media; financial services; public works; critical manufacturing; energy; water and wastewater; critical infrastructure workers; community-based government operations and essential functions; defense industrial base; chemical supply chains and safety; and hazardous materials.

Frontline workers are those who worked in these essential industries, in a job which required them to work at least some of the time outside of their home during the COVID-19 emergency this spring.

This is a last-dollar scholarship program paying in-district rates for tuition using federal funds; fees are excluded. Out-of-district students will have to pay the tuition difference between out-of-district and in-district costs.

For additional details on eligibility and other requirements, visit the aforementioned website. Customer Care Center representatives may also be reached by dialing 517-636-7000.

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