By: Riia O’Donnell and Katie Clarey for HR Dive, Photo by Josh Garcia on Unsplash
- The Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters (MRCC) and Millwrights and its contractor partners announced the construction of a $30 million facility in Detroit to provide free skilled trades training to up to 1,500 students every year, according to a statement from the city government of Detroit.
- First-year apprentices in the program will earn about $16 per hour plus benefits, The Detroit News reported. During a March 4 announcement of the project, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said the city has five to 10 years’ worth of construction work; “We need to be training Detroiters to do it,” he said, according The Detroit News. MRCC will ensure at least 25% of incoming first-year apprentices are Detroit residents, according to the city.
- The program could come at a critical time for Michigan businesses, which require 15,000 workers to fill job openings in skilled trades industries every year, according to the city. “The reality is that men and women of color have not felt welcome in a range of trades,” Duggan said.
The city’s move to expand the talent pool of skilled workers by offering paid training comes as yet another implementation of a strategy that’s proving popular. This time, the initiative is paid for by a union, but governments, private employers and schools have been implementing the same approach to combat skills gaps. Industrial oven manufacturer Wisconsin Oven, for example, collaborated with a local college to start an earn-while-you-learn training program with a guaranteed pipeline of students.
And while apprenticeships have gained attention — even from the Trump administration — they may not close the skills gap, at least not by themselves. When paired with other initiatives aimed to repair the deeper problems that caused the skills gap, apprenticeships may see more success as a long-term solution. The revival of shop class makes for a prime example. As more schools re-introduce shop class, students are not only introduced to career paths they may not have considered, but they also can be equipped with skills necessary for those jobs.