As a product of Michigan’s public schools, Gary understands that all of our children deserve a fair chance to succeed, and a good education gives them the tools they need to achieve their full potential. Education is a central component of economic development. If America does not lead the world in education, our future workforce will be less productive and less globally competitive. Gary is committed to a strong public education system that provides students with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century global economy. That means access to quality public schools for all children – affordable higher education for all who choose to pursue it – and expanding apprenticeships, skills trainings and career and technical education.
Matching the skills we teach with the needs of local employers is critical to closing the skills gap that leaves businesses with unfilled job openings and people out of work. Gary knows there are many paths to a good-paying job in Michigan beyond the traditional four-year college degree. Michigan’s manufacturing and auto industries in particular depend on skilled trade workers, and Gary wants to ensure that our education system is designed to produce this workforce and create a pipeline of talent. He passed legislation into law expanding career and technical education by increasing awareness of these opportunities for high school counselors. He’s also authored legislation into law increasing opportunities for veterans looking to use their GI Benefits towards apprenticeships.
Making sure that all of our children receive the best education possible starts with investing in our schools from early childhood to high school graduation. That includes funding science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) education that will help keep American students globally competitive. Gary co-wrote the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, which refreshed federal research opportunities and priorities, promoted diversity in STEM fields, encouraged scientific innovation and cut administrative red tape for researchers. To help our students succeed, we have an obligation to make sure our schools have the resources they need to give the next generation the brightest future possible.
Higher education is increasingly essential to a bright economic future, but the cost of college continues to become more and more burdensome for families. With the majority of college students now graduating with significant debt, making higher education more affordable for everyone is a top priority for Gary. That is why he helped introduce legislation to allow borrowers with outstanding student loan debt to refinance at lower interest rates available to new borrowers. He also passed his bipartisan legislation into law to help private student loan borrowers rehabilitate defaulted loans and remove the default from their credit report after making a series of on-time payments.