Endless Opportunities in Skilled Trades

By: Michael King
Communications Intern
The Prewitt Group

More than $10B in construction projects are underway in Detroit, but there’s not enough skilled workers available to fill the range of jobs available. This fact and more were shared at the Chandler Park Academy Skilled Trades Career Fair, held on March 23, 2019.

School advisor, Lavell Nero, kicked off the event, noting that career fairs like this are important to help more students get exposed to skilled trade careers, as well as community college and HBCU programs, all of which were in attendance. He then introduced the keynote speaker, Renee Prewitt of The Prewitt Group and co-chair of The Partnership of Diversity and Opportunity in Transportation. Prewitt highlighted skilled trade careers via a discussion of the top ten reasons to consider a career in the field.


#1: The Availability of Jobs
There are more jobs available than skilled workers, demand for skilled labor has never been higher.

2#: Competitive Pay
The pay aligns with that of many white-collar positions, and some actually pay better. A few starting salaries are shown below.

Skilled Trades Starting Salaries

Heavy Equipment Operator: $55,000 Machinist: $45,000
Sheet Metal Worker: $47,000 Pipefitter: $49,000
Iron Worker: $55,000 Plumber: $55,000
Electrician: $54,000 Roofer: $45,000

3#: You earn while you learn.
During training, union apprentices are paid a salary, receive benefits, and when they graduate, often have little to no educational debt.

#4: You can own your future.
If you consider yourself a driven self-starter, you can quickly become a foreman or a crew leader, and within four years, a master journeyman and/or project manager. The skills learned can even help you start your own company.

#5: College is not for everyone.
An interesting statistic from the U.S. Department of Education states that 45% of all students who start college, dropout. One size does not fit all.

#6: You will never be outsourced.
Local laborers are the life-blood of Michigan construction projects. The industry cannot simply hire foreign laborers to cut costs.

#7: Technology is a growing part of the industry.
Most people think skilled trades jobs are dirty jobs, but this is simply not the case. Technology is creating new opportunities to work better and smarter, and are requiring new skill sets of employees.

#8: Getting started couldn’t be easier.
There are a host of local, city and state programs to help you gain entry into the construction industry. has streamlined this process by providing visitors with a one-stop website for all local information on skilled trades: Apprenticeships: The Other 4-Year Degree.”

#9: You will develop a lasting work ethic.
Some skills are important wherever you go. Those at the top of the list include several “beings,” such as on time, teachable, professional, responsible, and showing initiative are taught to those who are willing to learn.

#10: Now, more than ever is the time to get started.
Demand for the revitalization of the city of Detroit has risen. The money to rebuild is coming down the pipeline. Don’t pass up the opportunity to #RebuildDetroit