2015 MICHIGAN LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES
Michigan’s community colleges are committed to providing students with an affordable, high-quality education. Colleges recognize that in order to meet employer demand for a skilled, modern workforce, the state must ensure cost does not become a barrier to college access. Michigan should build on the modest appropriations increases of recent years by continuing to invest in community colleges, and by supporting capital outlay projects that will allow community colleges to provide quality educational facilities and infrastructure to their students.
IMPROVING STUDENT PATHWAYS
By the year 2020, economists project that 65% of jobs will require some college credit. Unfortunately, only 37% of working-age adults in Michigan have at least an associate’s degree. To help meet that need, colleges across the state are creating innovative and varied models for students to earn college credit while still in high school, including traditional dual enrollment courses, courses offered at high schools, virtual courses, and early and middle colleges. As students move forward from Michigan’s community colleges, it is critical that we protect the investment students have made. The Michigan Transfer Agreement is a good first step to ensure that college credits seamlessly transfer to our university partners; now Michigan should take the next step to ensure the full transfer of Associates Degrees.
MICHIGAN NEW JOBS TRAINING PROGRAM
The Michigan New Jobs Training Program (MNJTP) authorizes community colleges to support employers that are creating new jobs in Michigan. The training for the newly hired workers is paid by redirecting the state income tax associated with the new employees’ wages to reimburse the college, until the contract is paid in full. Michigan should build on this successful workforce development model by extending the life of the program, allowing for greater training opportunities than the current law allows, and clarifying eligibility for the program to provide employers with more certainty.