Workforce and Business Resources 

Michigan Reconnect Tuition Grant

Michigan Reconnect offers free tuition at your in-district community college to earn an associate degree or Pell-eligible skill certificate if you're 25+.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be at least 25 years old when they apply
  • Have lived in Michigan for a year or more
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Have not yet completed a college degree (associate or bachelor’s).
  • If an applicant has already started, but not completed a degree or certificate, they are eligible for funding to continue the education.
If an applicant attends college in the district where they live, tuition is free. If they attend a college in a district where they don't live, Reconnect will pay the in-district part of the tuition and the student will need to pay the remaining balance. 

Additional information is available on the program website, linked here.

Other Topics

Financial Relief Quick Reference Guide
The Pay Check Protection Program (PPP) 
Small Business Administration (SBA) Programs
Unemployment Benefits and Information
Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
Executive Order: Frequently Asked Questions
PMBC Virtual Procurement
Michigan Economic Development Corporation ,
Southwest Michigan First
Other Resources

Financial Relief Quick Reference Guide

Click here for a quick comparison of all the funding sources detailed below.

Small Business Administration (SBA) Programs

Disaster Loans**

Federal disaster loans for business, private nonprofits, homeowners, and renters.

For business applicants, the EIDL is a low-interest, fixed-rate loan that can provide up to $2 million in assistance. SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDLs) funds come directly from the U.S. Treasury. Applicants do not go through a bank to apply, and instead, apply directly to SBA’s Disaster Assistance Program.

Actual loan amounts are based on the amount of economic injury. These loans provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing because of COVID-19. The EIDL helps meet the necessary financial obligations that your business or private non-profit organization could have met had the disaster not occurred. EIDLs do not replace lost sales or revenue.

For eligibility and terms, visit the SBA's intake page.


**Program has received additional funding. SBA resumed processing applications that are already in queue and is now accepting NEW applications as well.

Disaster Loan Advance 
This loan advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance funds will be made available within days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.  Additional information here.

Express Bridge Loans

Enables small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, or other long term financing, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan. The Bridge Loan will be repaid, in part or in full, by the proceeds from the EIDL. Additional information here.
 Debt Relief 
As part of SBA's debt relief efforts,The SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of 

  • current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months
  • new 7(a), 504, and microloans issued prior to September 27, 2020.

For current SBA Serviced Disaster (Home and Business) Loans: If your disaster loan was in “regular servicing” status on March 1, 2020, the SBA is providing automatic deferments through December 31, 2020.
More information on SBA debt relief programs here.

Unemployment Benefits Expanded to Self-Employed & Others

With Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), many people, including those who don’t typically qualify for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed workers, independent contractors, low-wage workers and those with limited work history may qualify for PUA. Under PUA individuals will receive an established weekly benefit amount and an additional $600 per week in Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.

To help manage the flow of applicants, the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) is implementing a schedule based on an applicant's last name. This schedule applies  to both online applications and the call center. 

To file a claim and see the schedule, visit the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency website.

Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The FFCRA requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Act applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees, and includes some exemptions for businesses who would experience significant duress from complying. 

The Department of Labor is also requiring employers to make information available regarding employee’s rights under this act. Click to download the required poster.

Generally, the Act provides that covered employers must provide to all employees:

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor.

A covered employer must provide to employees that it has employed for at least 30 days:

  • Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

For additional information and guidance, please refer to the links below:

Employer and Employee Retention Tax Credits
The Employer Retention Tax Credit is a 50% tax credit for the first $10,000 of an employee’s compensation. To claim the credit, you will include 50% of eligible wages on your second quarter Form 941, 941-SS or 941-PR.

The Employee Retention Credit is for employers that are entitled to a refundable tax credit for providing the required leave paid under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA). The Employer Retention Tax Credit maxes out at $10,000; thus each employee paid during that time period could garner up to $5,000 in tax credits.


The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides $350 billion for 100 percent federally-guaranteed loans for eight weeks of assistance to small businesses and 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Sole-proprietors, independent contractors, and other self-employed individuals are also eligible for these loans.

  • Loans can be forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities.
  • SBA-certified lenders and non-SBA lenders would be authorized to make Payment Protection loans. All lenders participating in the Payment Protection Program, including banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions will be moved to delegated authority which allows lenders to process loans quickly without SBA approval.
  • The Secretary of the Treasury would have authority to work with the SBA to expedite the approval process and bring new lenders into the program.


Executive Order: Frequently Asked Questions

 What can and can’t I do under the Governor’s order? 
 Is my business or employer an "Essential Business?" 
 If my business is essential, what should I do to comply with the order?

For answers to these frequently asked questions and more, click here.

Michigan Economic Development Corporation

MEDC is providing moment-to-moment updates on the Executive Order's impact on Michigan businesses. This is a great place to go if you wish to contact a Economic Consultant that can help your business work through this crisis. Besides that, MEDC provides concrete information on whether or not you are qualified for state or federal support. 

If you wish to access their site, click here

Southwest Michigan First

Southwest Michigan First is the most comprehensive aggregate of business resources for the State of Michigan. Here are some of the information categories you will be able to find on their website: 

To access their website in full, click here.

Other Resources


Self- Monitoring, Quarantine, Isolation, and more. Click to download the handout. 

Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center

  • How to stay successful through COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Critical Supplies Survey
  • FAQ: COVID-19 Response Strategies
  • Downloads and Links (Supply chain disruption planning; Food safety FAQ; etc).
  • Message Board: Capabilities and Needs 

Regional Manufacturing Technology Center 

  • Repurposing your facility to meet critical needs
  • Plant layout
  • Establishing Standard Work processes
  • Total Productive Maintenance and Single Minute Exchange of Dies
  • ERP support and consultation
  • Cost Mentoring – Activity Based Costing
  • Supplier Scouting
  • Market Research and Diversification

Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency

We are here for you! If you are a Branch County business and you have additional questions about this current situation that are not answered on this page, please reach out to us. 

Lisa Miller, Branch County Economic Growth Alliance (517) 279-9531 X 6909

Audrey Tappenden, Coldwater Economic Development (517) 279-9531 X 6913

Nonprofits authorized to operate in the state of Michigan and that uphold the key values of inclusion, diversity, and equity; discovery and understanding; authentic conversation; respectful collaboration; and meaningful experiences.

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