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Ava Attari

TITLE: Data & Policy Fellow (MDLEO) Alumni '19-'21

Improving the Reach of Workforce Development Services for Michigan’s Workers

Ava Attari, our 2019-2021 MDLEO fellow, supported the state’s efforts to improve workforce development policies and programs, with a specific focus on navigating work requirements and reducing barriers to work for individuals accessing Medicaid, SNAP, and TANF benefits. In her first year, Ava was instrumental in the development of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Futures for Frontliners program, which launched September 2020. Futures for Frontliners is a first-of-its-kind scholarship program for Michigan residents who were frontline workers in essential industries during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program covers community college tuition costs for frontline workers to earn an associate degree or an industry-recognized certificate, as well as tuition-free high school completion courses and skills training for frontline workers. In its first week alone, Futures for Frontliners received over 40,000 applications from frontline workers seeking to advance their educational attainment. In her second year, Ava managed implementation of the Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect programs and advised the state on program evaluation strategies to measure the impact of Futures for Frontliners on educational attainment and community college retention.