Gov. Whitmer touts debt-free community college during stops in West Michigan

    Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tours Kalamazoo Valley Community College on Feb. 21, 2019 (Andrew Feather/WWMT-TV)

    Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made several stops in West Michigan as part of her "Home for Opportunity Tour" through the state.

    During the stops she met with the community about what needs to be done to improve opportunity and access to education in Michigan.

    Whitmer took tours at Kellogg Community College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College. There she touted her plan for debt-free community college statewide, saying the plan will improve access to education and provide skilled workers to employers.

    “It is an investment that has enormous rewards that dwarf the upfront investment,” Whitmer said. “I can confidently say it's something that is going to be a wise use of resources.”

    Whitmer reiterated her goal that by 2030, 60 percent of Michiganders will have post-secondary education, whether it be a college degree or trade certification.

    She said a well-educated workforce played a major role in any economic growth.

    “In order to make sure that we have a quality of life that continues to climb as our economy does, we need to make sure that we're making the investments that really improve people's lives,” Whitmer said.

    Whitmer also met with economic development group Southwest Michigan First.

    She said the state needs to invest in education to bridge the gap between the skills workers have and the skills employers seek.

    “When you've got an economy that is supported by the skilled workforce to fill jobs that are currently unfilled and jobs that are anticipated in the future and hopefully the investment it will bring into our state,” she said. “We've got to meet this skills gap and that's how we're going to do it.”

    Whitmer also stopped by the Douglass Community Center to celebrate its 100th anniversary. She said centers like Douglass can play a major role in the success of communities.

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