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Labor secretary visits Detroit-area factories, talks jobs and apprenticeships

Jun 1, 2017

Creating jobs in Michigan means filling positions that are currently vacant.

That’s according to U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, who met with employees at the Milton Manufacturing plant in Detroit and the Ford Truck Plant in Dearborn to speak about apprenticeships and skilled trades training.

He says education is an important part of filling skilled trade job vacancies.

“We need to educate folks to fill the jobs that are empty. It’s call demand-driven education, and we really need to work on that as a country,”

Acosta didn’t detail any specific plans to increase jobs in Michigan, but says he is working with education secretary Betsy DeVos on skilled trades education.

Acosta doesn’t think workers should be concerned that automation in factories taking jobs way.

“The workers will run the automated machines and that’s why it’s important that we fill the skills gap, so that workers have the skills they need to run the machines just like they’re doing here in this facility,” he said.

Apprenticeships are also a focus for Acosta, saying they will help with on-site training for factory jobs.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment was around 5 percent in Michigan at the end of last year.