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UP Lawmaker Sees Upside Of Free College Plan

Free community college and 2-years of tuition assistance at a university, they are part of Governor Whitmer’s 3-paths to education plan to reach her goal of 60 percent of Michiganders with a post-secondary credential in the next 10 years.

State Representative Greg Markkanen was teaching in the Baraga Area Schools just a few months ago and he likes what he hears from the Governor if the state can find a way to pay for it.

Markkanen said, “I’d like to see us give everyone the opportunity to attend community college.  We have some of the finest up here in the U.P. with Gogebic Community College and Bay College and we have a satellite facility right here in Houghton and four year colleges as well.  We just have to find a way to pay for this.”

The Hancock Republican would like to see more than just making college free in order to make such a program successful.

“I think there’s value in giving people counseling, giving them assistance and looking at a career path that is good for their life and what their future goals are.  I think that if we could offer more career shadowing, job shadowing, and give people an opportunity to explore careers before they step into a four-year program or even a two-year program,” said Markkanen.

Markkanen said the Governor’s plan is very similar to the 2-paths to high school graduation plan which he supported during his campaign that would allow students to follow career and technical education programs.

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