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Manufacturing Day 2019 in Southeast Michigan

Manufacturing is among the most technologically advanced and innovative career fields out there, and production is forecast to continue increasing over the next three decades and anchor Southeast Michigan economy. Manufacturing Day provides invaluable exposure and experiential learning to students and is one way of implementing the SEMCOG/MAC report, Future Skills: Preparing for the Changing World of Work.

Apprenticeships in Michigan: The numbers

By Naheed Huq, SEMCOG

Last month during National Apprenticeship Week, the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives (LMISI) released a new report that provides an overview of registered apprenticeships in Michigan and identifies some of the main trends impacting the future skilled trade pipeline in the state. The data will help policy makers evaluate the skilled trade labor supply, understand gaps in the workforce, and address shortages in key industries.

We are very excited to release this report on Registered Apprenticeships in Michigan. For the first time, we were able to confirm key characteristics of Michigan’s apprentices, as well as identify some of the challenges and opportunities that exist for apprenticeship programs in Michigan. This report will provide our state partners with the information they need to develop apprenticeship programs as a crucial source of workforce talent.

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Detroit’s National Apprenticeship Week Makes a Case for #BlueCollarLife

By Renee Prewitt

The second annual National Apprenticeship Week #NAW2016, made a deep dive into the Metro Detroit region recently, and helped to move the apprenticeship needle from mystery to reality for many people who have never found a pathway into skilled trades. Throughout the week—Nov 14 to 20—a series of events took place that proved to be a huge opportunity for both sides of the employment pipeline: Employers who need to fill hundreds of skilled trades jobs benefited from the creative outreach, and those who can work these jobs learned what is required to be prepared for the challenge.

It marked the progression of a beautiful relationship.

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Faced with a labor shortage, companies create their own pipeline

By Aaron Price

A few years ago, we did a gap analysis on our industry, and asked ourselves, “What will the employee pipeline look like in five years?”

Cadillac Asphalt is Michigan’s largest asphalt supplier, with the capacity to produce more than 4 million tons annually. We run seven paving crews with 200 employees during the heart of construction season. However, with the growing economy, potential road funding increases and pending retirements, Cadillac Asphalt predicts we will need to double our size by 2020. Filling the skilled trades employment gap is the biggest issue in the construction and infrastructure industries today, especially in Detroit.

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Apprenticeships: The other four-year degree!

By Naheed Huq
The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG)

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that apprenticeships seem to be the Next Big Thing?

Some may say that there is nothing new about apprenticeships. They have been around for many decades. So why are we hearing so much about them now? Well for a start, this week (November 14-20) is the second annual National Apprenticeship Week, as designated by the US. Department of Labor. Michigan businesses, governments, education, and labor organizations are celebrating big time! The Partnership for Diversity and Opportunity in Transportation (PDOT) is serving as a clearinghouse for events in Southeast Michigan and is promoting those that help raise awareness of skilled-trade careers as well as apprenticeship training and employment programs.

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National Apprenticeship Week Focuses on Apprenticeships: The Other 4-Year Degree

apprenticeship_fact3October 17, 2016, Detroit, MI–There are more than 1,200 skilled trades jobs listed on dozens of job sites in Michigan, and the race is on to fill each one of them. At a time when the “go to college” mantra is coming face-to-face with staggering college debt, there has never been a better time to consider what blue-collar life offers. For many, it means a good paying career that can never be outsourced, and a professional option that taps into a person’s desire to build things with their own hands.

National Apprenticeship Week, Nov 14-20, is one way to raise awareness of the many opportunities in the skilled trades, particularly in the construction and transportation industries. All week employers, employment agencies and unions will host events that focus on skilled trades as a career option. Events will be posted at

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6th Annual Construction Science Expo

The Construction Science Expo is an annual event, held in late spring at a prominent location in Detroit, during which high school students who have signed a drug-free pledge are invited to spend a day being exposed to careers in the engineering and construction fields through a variety of speakers and hands-on experiences. The first event was held in 2011 at the Michigan (Detroit) Science Center, and subsequent highly successful events have been held at that location or the A. Philip Randolph Career and Technical Center.

Top Ten Quotes about Apprenticeships & Skilled Trades

By Lisa Killingsworth

images-3As the United States and Michigan claws a way out of the devastating recession—which recorded record unemployment rates not seen since the Great Depression—people are looking at the employment landscape with renewed expectations. The road to college has been paved with a singular view for too long, held up as the premier way to achieve career success. However, mounting college debt and low unemployment rates for college grads have caused many people to wonder: Is there another way to career success?

Today, we are looking at apprenticeships as the other four-year degree, and informed people know that there are good paying, career opportunities in the skilled trades that allow you to earn while your learn, and transition you to full careers in various professions.

Everybody is talking about it. Here are some of the Top Ten quotes we captured that underscore the changing landscape for career opportunities.


  1. Investments in skilled-trades training also can lead to good-paying jobs for people, both black and white, who might not have had the opportunity to go to college.”Detroit Free Press, ‘Race Dominates Discussion at Mackinac Policy Conference’
  1. “Today everybody is told they have to go to college, they have to get a degree. But I think it’s important that we get the word out that you can support a family, you can make a living in manufacturing without that four-year degree.” – The Detroit News, Skilled Trades Would Get 75% Boost in Snyder Budget’
  1. In some ways, we lost track of career tech education and the skilled trades. Big mistake. And we’re paying a price for that today. There are a tremendous number of great jobs out there waiting to be filled.” – Governor Snyder, The Detroit News, Snyder Promotes Trades Training After State of State’
  1. “There’s this constant balance that goes on between the definition of a good job and our understanding of a truly valuable education. Not all knowledge comes from college, but not all skills come from degrees.” – Mike Rowe, ‘CNNs Mike Rowe: Michigan Must Change Perceptions Of Skilled Trades’
  1. “We’ve heard the best path for most people is a four-year degree. These things become platitudes and before long it’s inculcated in our minds that there is a path to success and this is what it looks like. We have to be mindful that these stereotypes and stigmas actually exist, and rather than pretend they don’t, it’s useful to talk about them head-on.” – Mike Rowe, ‘Shattering Misconceptions’
  1. An MEDC grant of $50 million has kick-started new investment in the Community College Skilled Trades Equipment Program. [It’s] an effort to help close a talent gap and meet the current demand for good-paying jobs by enabling community colleges to purchase equipment required for educational programs in high-wage, high-skill, and high-demand occupations.” – Governor Snyder, ‘Michigan’s Talented Future’ JustRight
  1. “As society has moved from an industrial to knowledge-based economy, skilled trades remain a part of that shift contrary to many misperceptions. The role of skilled trades is even more critical as manufacturing continues to evolve in the high-tech global economy, offering exciting career opportunities that are in high-demand.” – Detroit Regional Chamber, Perception, Partnerships And Pipeline Will Close The Skills Gap In Michigan’
  1. “What we’re seeing from employers is they want people who have actual skills, who have work experience, who can demonstrate they can actually do something. We think that vocational programs should not be an alternative track for the non-college bound — it should be a track for everybody.” – Lisa Katz, ‘Experts: Apprenticeship Degree Can Land In-Demand Job’
  1. It’s the best of both worlds,” Wofford said in an interview at the shop, which makes and repairs molds for plastic parts such as auto-fuel tanks. ‘You get the on-hand experience, but you also need the knowledge of education from college.’” – Toby Wofford (18), apprentice at United Tool and Mold Inc., South Carolina, Apprenticeship Good for Ben Franklin Closes Skills Gap’
  1. “It is a great message. We’ve got to do a better job of backing kids up and making sure they have an opportunity to explore career options early in their tenure, so that they have a chance to start matching up what they like to do, and their passions, and their talents with a career. We can’t wait until they’re at 11th or 12th grade to do that, so we need to back that up. And skilled trades is a vital part of this state’s economy.” – Karen McPhee, The Detroit News, New Adviser to Push Skilled Trades Issues for Snyder’

The Partnership for Diversity and Opportunity in Transportation (The Partnership) consists of unions, businesses, and non-profit representatives, working collaboratively to enhance economic development within neighborhoods—which are directly impacted by major public works, and transportation construction projects—by creating community benefits, business growth, job training and other opportunities. is one of our programs, designed as a “one-stop shop” for information about apprenticeships, apprenticeship readiness services, and business opportunities.



When an Open House Comes Calling

By Renee Prewitt

It’s about jobs, good paying jobs, and the community is quickly getting on board with Detroit’s new focus on careers in the skilled trades. Blue collar jobs are sexy again and with all of the construction projects getting underway—building the new Red Wings Stadium and the new international bridge, road repairs, and renovation projects, construction firms are scrambling to find employees who are trained electricians, cement masons, operating engineers, plumbers, etc. Retirees and the building boom have created a large employment hole to fill.

In response, schools like A. Philip Randolph Career Training Center are stepping in, offering young people dual learning opportunities in academics and the skilled trades. They held an open house at Randolph last week; it’s the only DPS school that prepares students for careers in the construction trades industry. Several people came out to talk about the new partnership between business, government, unions and Detroit Public Schools that will push young people into a wide open pipeline of opportunity that leads to lasting, middle income jobs. Here’s what some of them said about “Apprenticeships, the Other Four-Year Degree.”

IMG_5567“With the right preparation, people will be ready to go to the next level.” Don O’Connell, Executive Director, Operating Engineers, Local 324.

“I heard someone say, ‘If I don’t believe I can make a difference, then a difference won’t be made.’ I know all of us can make a difference and help our young people get the training they need.” Marion McGhee, Executive Director, Office of College and Career Readiness.

“We will see the City of Detroit being rebuilt and our students will be a part of that.” Dr. George Pena, Director, Randolph CTC.

“My father always said that opportunity comes with preparation. Those words have never been more true than they are today.” Dannis Mitchell, Diversity manager, Barton Malow.

At Randolph, students gain hands-on experience in construction in collaboration with local businesses, industry leaders and the community. Randolph is also the only DPS Career and Technical Center to offer the new 9th Grade Career Academy program, where high school students can earn a comprehensive high school diploma, an associate’s degree, trade skill certification and a paid internship through extensive coursework. Ask the young person you know what they think about working in construction. To learn more, call 313 240-4377.

The Partnership for Diversity and Opportunity in Transportation (The Partnership) consists of unions, businesses, and non-profit representatives, working collaboratively to enhance economic development within neighborhoods—which are directly impacted by major public works, and transportation construction projects—by creating community benefits, business growth, job training and other opportunities. is one of our programs, designed as a “one-stop shop” for information about apprenticeships, apprenticeship readiness services, and business opportunities.

Fix the Roads!

By Renee Prewitt

At a recent industry conference sponsored by Michigan Infrastructure Transportation Association (MITA), the focus was on rallying as many voices as possible to support the new $1.2B roads bill.

While oppositional voices are gearing up for battle, people on both sides of the issue agree: Michigan needs to fix its crumbling roads!

The reasons to vote for Prop 1 are many:
· Our pothole riddled roads cannot be ignored any longer. Individual auto repairs are hitting a lot of us pretty hard in the pocket. In addition, deteriorating roads are not safe.
· The new gas tax will guarantee that every penny in state taxes we pay at the pump is guaranteed to go to transportation. We can put an end to the shell game played by the politicians in Lansing that shifts gas taxes to non-transportation purposes.
· Some of the funds will be used to help schools and local communities, which is not a bad thing if you live in a community that has schools. During the recession, most of these budgets were cut.
· Contrary to what some believe, the state doesn’t have the money to fix Michigan’s roads and bridges today without drastically cutting essential funding for our local communities, schools and public safety officers.
Tax increases are never popular, but in Michigan’s case, Prop 1 is necessary. If you don’t like the way Legislators handled this issue or handle your tax dollars in general, pledge to hold them accountable for all of their decisions regarding road funding in the future.

Don’t hold up the passage of this bill for a magic formula that may never materialize. Vote to fix the roads by voting Yes for Prop 1 on May 5.
If not now, when?

The Partnership for Diversity and Opportunity in Transportation (The Partnership) consists of unions, businesses, and non-profit representatives, working collaboratively to enhance economic development within neighborhoods—which are directly impacted by major public works, and transportation construction projects—by creating community benefits, business growth, job training and other opportunities. is one of our programs, designed as a “one-stop shop” for information about apprenticeships and apprenticeship readiness services.