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Labor and Economic Opportunity

$28 million grant will support education awareness and readiness program

Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity secures federal funds to support initiative that benefits economically-disadvantaged Michiganders

November 5, 2020

Contact: Mike Murray, 517-275-1820

LANSING, Mich.—The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) has been awarded $28 million – $4M per year over the course of the next seven years – by the U.S. Department of Education for the Michigan Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (MI GEAR UP) efforts aimed at increasing the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

“The continuation of MI GEAR UP is another tool that allows us to help prepare more Michiganders on their pathway to rewarding careers and bigger paychecks,” LEO Acting Director Susan Corbin. “It’s also another tool that helps us achieve the state’s Sixty by 30 goal, ensuring 60% of working-age Michiganders have a postsecondary degree or credential by 2030 so that our great state is well-positioned for long-term economic growth.”

MI GEAR UP increases students’ awareness of the prerequisites to enter into a postsecondary education by providing college exposure, information on financial aid and admissions, and helping to build the critical thinking, test taking and study skills necessary to be successful as they continue their education.

To date, the program has served more than 29,000 students, of which 88 percent obtained a high school diploma and 62 percent enrolled in postsecondary institutions.

“Through MI GEAR UP, we partner with Michigan’s 15 public universities and other key community partners to provide early intervention services and a scholarship component to help students succeed,” LEO Employment and training Director Stephanie Beckhorn said. “Throughout the process, we serve a cohort of students, beginning in the seventh grade and follow them through the first two years of college.”

LEO’s Office of Employment and Training will continue to implement and administer MI GEAR UP. The 15 participating public universities will work statewide with economically-disadvantaged students in 51 of Michigan’s school districts for this program. The student population within these districts will have at least 50% qualifying for free or reduced lunch.

More information about MI GEAR UP and other postsecondary opportunities in Michigan is available at Michigan.gov/KCP.