LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced today that Michigan is using grants to invest in students mental and physical health and to recruit 560+ nurses, social workers, and counselors.

Whitmer said that the funding comes from the bipartisan school budget that passed in July of 2021.

“The pandemic reminded us that school-based mental and physical health professionals are not luxuries. Healthy students—physically, mentally, and social-emotionally—are better learners,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Having skilled professionals in school buildings helps our kids get the supports they need so they can thrive in the classroom and beyond.”  

In the 2022 budget, Michigan agreed to set aside $240 million to increase the number of school-based professionals support students’ mental and physical health.   

So far, 210 school districts have applied for grant funding to hire 562 staff members including 60 school psychologists, 226 school social workers, 146 school counselors, and 130 school nurses.

Grant funds help districts hire staff and gradually transition from fully funding the position with state funds in year 1 to fully funding the position with local funds in year 4.   

“Our children require academic, social emotional, and physical supports, both in and out of schools,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael F. Rice. “School communities across the state are appreciative of this critical new FY 22 budget investment negotiated between the governor and the state legislature.  This $240 million begins the requisite school support for our children’s mental health and physical needs.” 

Districts must hire staff by March 1, 2022 to qualify.   

“The health and well-being of Michigan’s students continues to be a top priority for both MASA and our members,” said Dr. Tina Kerr, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators. “Now, more than ever, our students need access to these services, and there’s no better place than in our schools to provide them. We are very pleased to see this important funding going to districts across the state so they can hire the key staff needed to support our students.” 

The application is still open, and all districts are eligible to apply. Districts can review frequently asked questions and submit their application by visiting Michigan.gov/MDE.