Dave Coulter
County Executive | Oakland County, MI

ARP: Credentials for Oakland County, Michigan Workers

Idea Category: Equity & Opportunity, Jobs and Entrepreneurship | Funding Source: American Rescue Plan

County Executive Dave Coulter is investing nearly $3 million from the American Rescue Plan in Oakland80, an ambitious plan to help 80 percent of county residents obtain a post-high school degree or credential by 2030, up from 61 percent in 2022.

The federal dollars will fund up to twelve “career navigators” who work in communities throughout the county to counsel residents about education and training opportunities. 

In late November, the county announced a portion of ARP funds will help essential workers receive their associate’s degree or complete a credentialing program. The state’s Futures for Frontliners program provides scholarships for tuition costs to community colleges, and federal funds will help cover the costs of books, supplies, and other related expenses for Oakland County residents. 

In addition to attracting businesses to Oakland County, the Oakland80 program is about “getting our residents the skills they need to get hired for good paying jobs that will boost the quality of life for themselves and their families,” Coulter said. “The infusion of American Rescue Plan funding has allowed us to significantly boost this program and that is truly a win-win for Oakland County’s residents and businesses.”

The Oakland80 is only part of the $9.6 million of ARP funding Oakland County is spending to support businesses and residents getting back to work. The county is putting $1.5 million towards programs to assist individuals who face financial barriers to participating in career credentialing and higher education programs. Within a month of launching the program, more than 30 people applied for funding to help pay for items from work boots to books.

The county anticipates assisting more than 6,500 residents with this program. An additional $1.2 million will go towards supporting child care for individuals disproportionately impacted by COVID. Up to 1,000 families can apply for the $1,200 child care scholarships, allowing families to return to work. As of early February 2022, more than 400 families had applied.


The program launched in May 2022, hiring six Career and Education Navigators to work in communities throughout Oakland County to support people in finding fulfilling careers. These navigators help provide assistance to get into college or a training program, as well as connections to other wraparound services to navigate other obstacles. They also serve to connect students and adult learners with employers with job opportunities, as well as colleges. Additionally, the county has approved $1.2 million to support over 300 families with childcare scholarships for residents who are juggling work, education, or training and struggling to afford licensed child care; and $1.5 million to help residents who are facing barriers to getting a college degree or training certificate.

Impact Testimony:

  • The navigators assisted a low-income single mother and post-secondary student, who was working part-time as a housekeeper. Because of COVID, the hospitality industry was hit hard, and the woman had her hours reduced. She had difficulty keeping up with payments and fell behind on her utilities. The staff was able to assist with supportive services and other resources so that she could stay in her housing, pay her utilities and continue her education and training. She received an associate’s degree last year, got a job as a Child Care Specialist and enrolled in a Bachelor of Social Work program in the fall.
  • An unemployed youth completed a 12-week Robotics training at Oakland Community College that was paid for through a partnership with Oakland County Michigan Works! When he graduated from the training, he was offered a job as an auto body collision apprentice, with Oakland80 purchased the tools for him. He got the job once the apprenticeship was over.
  • A part-time employee and full-time post-secondary student was on the verge of having to drop out of school in her last semester of an associate’s degree program in nursing because of an accumulated student loan debt of more than $4,500. An honor student, Oakland80 and Michigan Works teamed up to help cover the tuition costs, fees, loan debt, books, testing and licensing. She received a Registered Nurse License from the State of Michigan in July and found employment at a hospital in August.

More Idea’s From Dave Coulter

ARP: Oakland County MI, Workforce Programs Helps Cover Costs of School/Trainings

Idea Category: Equity & Opportunity, Jobs and Entrepreneurship | Funding Source: ARP

ARP: Oakland County MI, Invests in Food Assistance Programs

Idea Category: Safety Net | Funding Source: ARP

Oakland80 – Oakland County’s Education Attainment Goal

Idea Category: Education, Jobs and Entrepreneurship | Funding Source: ARP