President’s initiative supports state’s efforts

Published 4:36 pm Friday, July 17, 2009

Hello, this is Governor Jennifer Granholm.
John F. Kennedy once said, “All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talent.” That’s the thrust behind federal and state efforts to give people greater access to college and job training.
On Tuesday at Macomb Community College in Warren, President Obama announced the American Graduation Initiative to strengthen our nation’s community colleges. This $12 billion program seeks to help an additional five million Americans earn degrees and training certificates in the next decade. It also will offer grants to community colleges for programs that connect students looking for jobs with businesses looking to hire.
President Obama’s commitment to prepare people for 21st century jobs supports our education and job training efforts in Michigan. Five years ago, I asked Lt. Governor John Cherry to lead a Commission on Higher Education and Economic Growth. The commission developed a comprehensive plan to double the number of Michigan college graduates and to create the expectation that all our students would continue their education past the 12th grade.
We did several things to prepare high school students for success in college and the workplace. Michigan’s graduation requirements are now among the toughest in the nation so that all students finish high school ready to succeed in college. Every Michigan child is now taking a college prep curriculum in high school. Every child now takes a college admissions test, and the Early College High Schools we’ve opened around the state let students earn both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in just five years of study.
Key to our efforts in increasing the number of college graduates is the Michigan Promise scholarship, the state’s first universal college scholarship. These $4,000 scholarships go to nearly 100,000 Michigan students.
Although the state Senate recently voted to eliminate the Michigan Promise scholarships, we will not allow this to happen. Families already have budgeted for these funds. We will not break the promise of this scholarship to students and their families.
For adults who are unemployed or looking to upgrade their skills, our No Worker Left Behind program can help. No Worker Left Behind provides up to two years of free tuition at a community college, university or technical school. Almost 82,000 Michigan workers have capitalized on this opportunity.
President Obama stirred memories of the words of John F. Kennedy when he said that at places like Macomb Community College, anyone with a desire to learn and to grow has the opportunity to pursue their dream. Programs such as the American Graduation Initiative and our own homegrown initiatives like the Michigan Promise scholarship and No Worker Left Behind can help make those dreams come true.

This is a radio address from Governor Jennifer Granholm, D. She can be contacted at (517) 335-7858 or P.O. Box 30013 Lansing, Michigan 48909 The office of the governor also has a web site,