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.”
“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.