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skilled trades

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Michigan will put $100 million toward skilled trades training and career exploration. Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation into law Tuesday.

State Senator Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, is a bill sponsor. He said the state has a shortage of people in the skilled trades workforce. That’s because for a long time there was an emphasis on getting a college degree.

“Not everybody is ganna be a four-year degree student and not everybody can work with their hands and this is for the folks that wanna work with their hands also,” Hansen said.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan lawmakers this week will consider a bill that would make it easier for high school students to learn about careers they may want to pursue.

State Rep. Beau LaFave, R-Iron Mountain, says his bill would give high school credit to students who complete an internship during their junior or senior years.

LaFave says his bill will cut through existing red tape that discourages high school students from exploring careers while still in school. 

“This is going to help I think with retention and graduation completion,” says LaFave.

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Gov. Rick Snyder says he wants to spend his last year in office focused on creating a workforce to fill more than 800,000 current and future openings.

He calls it a “Marshall Plan” for developing talent, borrowing the name of the massive effort to rebuild Europe after World War II.  It aims to invest in training for jobs in skilled trades, information technology, and health care.

Snyder said he’s made filling positions in sought-after high-tech fields a priority already.

“But we need a capstone accelerator. That’s what the Marshall Plan is – to accelerate this.”

An aerial view of Little Caesar's Arena.
Michigan Radio

An African American carpenter says he suffered racial discrimination and harassment on the job during the construction of Detroit’s Little Caesar’s Arena.

Harold Wilson is suing Hardman Construction, the contractor he spent just two days working for in 2015.

Wilson says he had trouble getting hired, despite a need for skilled tradesmen and Detroit resident workers. A city ordinance requires that 51% of all employees working on major development projects in Detroit be city residents.

person writing on paper
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A group pushing to repeal Michigan's law that requires higher "prevailing" wages on state-financed construction projects wants the state to certify its petitions without pulling a larger sample to review.

A ballot committee backed by the non-union Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan (Protecting Michigan Taxpayers) says it turned in more than 380,000 signatures for the veto-proof legislation. At least 252,523 valid signatures must be valid for citizen-initiated bills.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

In the future, Michigan high school juniors might have one less test to take.

Since 2007, Michigan high school students have spent half a day taking the ACT Work Keys exam.  The exam tests a student’s ability to solve workplace problems and thus assess whether they are ready to enter the workforce.

However, many educators question the value of the half-day test to students and the schools.

sarah cweik / Michigan Radio

Business and educational leaders agree that more needs to be done to encourage Michigan high school students to consider pursuing careers in skilled trades. 

However, they disagree on one possible solution.

An Educational Development Plan (EDP) is a document school counselors develop showing a student's education and career goals, and a way to achieve them.

Lawmakers are discussing two bills that would require schools to provide students with more career information and help create a talent portfolio for every student.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos being shown factory equipment
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Traditional four-year universities aren't the only path to higher education and good jobs. That was the message today from U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

DeVos met with Grand Rapids Community College students and faculty as a part of a nationwide tour to see different approaches to higher education. The visit was focused on apprenticeships and the need for skilled trades workers. 

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta walking through the Milton Manufacturing plant in Detroit.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

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,”

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s largest skilled trades union has agreed to train more Detroit residents in construction work.

The Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights says three of its local units will commit to new targets.

Those include making sure that Detroiters make up at least 25% of new apprentices, and tripling their Detroit membership in the next 10 years.

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Pinckney Community Schools says it recently became the first school district in the nation to start a cybersecurity program.

Jim Darga is the director of the Cybesecurity Institute at Pinckney Community Schools.

He says students are learning skills that are already in high demand in the professional world.

"They're embarking on a potential career that could go in a lot of different directions," Darga says. "Because all aspects, whether it's business, government, military -- all need cybersecurity professionals now."

https://www.flickr.com/photos/cliffhorn/8000874224/

The Next Idea

Over the past several years, economists and skilled trade industries have been incredibly optimistic about the future of U. S. manufacturing. In today’s society, consumers value American-made goods and the return of domestic manufacturing that comes with them.

Crowdsourcing school guidance counseling

Dec 10, 2015
Keyboard with a"Jobs" button
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The Next Idea

When it comes to having a 21st-century workforce, Southeast Michigan is in the midst of a “perfect storm.”

During years of economic decline, Michigan struggled to keep its residents educated and trained for the modern workplace. Now that the economy is in recovery and new job openings are finally emerging, there are not enough qualified young people left to fill them.

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Governor Rick Snyder tells a business conference on Mackinac Island that training and getting people interested in skilled trades is his top economic development priority.        

  

Thousands of employers – including some of the state’s largest – attend the annual Detroit Regional Chamber event. The state’s new Talent Investment Agency says many of those employers complain Michigan has a “skills gap” in its workforce.