Maura and Kim know there are businesses with thousands of unfilled jobs available right now in every corner of Massachusetts. We need to connect workers to these incredible jobs and create a pipeline for new talent, by working with community colleges to inspire and train the next generation. That is why Maura and Kim propose to launch MassReconnect, a program to help support older and non-traditional students 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 thriving programs in Michigan and Tennessee, MassReconnect funds free community college certificates and degrees to the Commonwealth’s residents who are 25 years old and up who have not yet earned a college credential, or students that have earned a certificate but are interested in earning a degree. Students can pursue either high-quality certificates or degrees depending on which will better serve their career goals. Unlike other programs, 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. MassReconnect will also provide academic coaching to ensure that students are supported and given guidance while working toward their goals.
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.
Census data from 2020 revealed that 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. Additionally, statistics show that students of color enroll in public higher education at significantly lower rates than their white peers and carry a higher percentage of unmet needs for direct costs. Those who do enroll, generally graduate at lower rates. Similarly, low-income students both enroll and graduate at rates below their peers.
As Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Maura and Kim want to harness the full potential of our community colleges to bolster their role as an economic driver in Massachusetts and meet the needs of businesses to find qualified, well-trained workers. They also want to assist in breaking cycles of intergenerational poverty by helping residents complete higher education credentials so they can attain good jobs and build a career path.