In full transparency, the following is a press release submitted to SOURCE media from the Democratic candidates for Governor & Lt. Governor.
BOSTON – Maura Healey and Kim Driscoll released a new policy today, October 17, to address the workforce shortage and need for improved job training programs. Their proposal, known as MassReconnect, will help support older and non-traditional students to complete their education and train them for good jobs in critical industries including health care, education, clean energy, advanced manufacturing and behavioral health.
Modeled on programs in Michigan and Tennessee, MassReconnect will fund community college certificates and degrees for the Commonwealth’s residents who are 25 years old and up and have not yet earned a college degree credential. Students can pursue either high-quality certificates or degrees depending on which will better serve their career goals.
“Our growing industries need more trained workers, and our residents need access to affordable education opportunities,” said Healey. “Under a Healey-Driscoll Administration, we’ll prioritize programs like our MassReconnect proposal to make job training available to more residents looking to get ahead in good-paying fields like health care and clean energy.”
“I’m the proud product of a state university, and I know how an affordable public education can open up new opportunities for hardworking people,” said Driscoll. “The MassReconnect program would allow older students to gain access to the industries that need workers the most through our excellent community colleges here in Massachusetts.”
MassReconnect covers more than just tuition, including costs such as mandatory fees, including lab and course-specific fees, application and graduation fees, as well as the cost of textbooks and course materials. The program provides last-dollar financial support through grants and scholarships, leveraging existing federal financial aid available for students and creating savings for the state, as well.
MassReconnect focuses on adults and is open to all Massachusetts residents over 25 with a high school diploma or equivalent, regardless of GPA or where they attended high school. The program allows for part-time enrollment, so students can work and raise their families while earning their credentials.
According to U.S. Census data, more than 1.8 million Massachusetts residents over the age of 25 have a high school diploma or equivalent but no higher education credential, roughly 38% of this entire age group. Students of color and low-income students enroll and graduate at lower rates, and carry a greater unmet need for direct costs