Michigan Aggregates Association




Students get professional industry training from 8 Southeast Michigan Construction Companies

Detroit, MI: As we continue to face a dire situation in Michigan’s aging construction labor workforce, the Detroit Workforce of the Future and Career Readiness coalition has carved a new pathway for students to go beyond Career Training Education. These open-minded, sometimes even competing, companies are working together to resolve our state labor skills gap by providing real, actionable and interactive participation in today’s workforce for a select group of 25 Detroit high school students.

These kids know they want to do something meaningful. They are ready to work hard in a well-paying industry and construction could be the key to their success. To qualify for this new program backed by the Talent & Economic Department of Michigan, students had to have enthusiasm, positive outlook, a desire to graduate from high school and a sincere interest in pre-apprenticeship in construction. Most of the DWF students participate in DESC’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, a program run by Jobs for Michigan Graduates during the school year and others have pledged to stay drug free in the Black Caucus Foundation’s’ Navigating Success program.

For 10 weeks during school, students completed off-site training with Operating Engineers 324 Career Center and Michigan Laborers’ Training and Apprenticeship Institute. They will all have earned their OSHA training certificate when they start 6 weeks of paid internships with 8 companies this summer.

“We are constantly looking for sustainable avenues to encourage young people to work in the Construction and Design Industry.” – Doug Needham, President of the Michigan Aggregates Association and co-leader of the Construction Science Expo Coalition and Detroit Workforce of the Future and Career Readiness.

Summer training has begun at employers’ businesses, where the labor and the leaders know that they have got to strengthen their youth employment or they might not be able to handle the heavy influx of new and upcoming work. This year’s partner businesses include Angelo Iafrate Construction, Ideal Group Construction, Barton Malow Southfield, Dan’s Excavating, CA Hull, Cadillac Asphalt, AJAX and Utility Services of America. Students will also get to operate big rigs at the Operating Engineers 324 Construction Career Center.

“We are always seeking new and inventive ways to identify and encourage the next generation of skilled tradespeople. We are honored to partner with Detroit Workforce of the Future on the forefront of those efforts.” – Lee Graham, Executive Director, Operating Engineers 324 Labor Management Education Committee.

Interested in shadowing a student while they are learning what it takes to work on job sites? 

Contact Ken Bertolini, MITA Outreach Coordinator and DWF Grant supervisor: KBertolini@thinkmita.org.

Meet the students and company representatives at the graduation celebration August 16th 6:00pm – 8:00pm at the Operating Engineers 324 Career Center at 1550 Howard Street, Detroit for comments on their experience with the Detroit Workforce of the Future program.

Detroit Workforce of the Future: Established in 2016 by a sub-committee of the Construction Science Expo, DWF creates active pathways for select students to strengthen their knowledge, interest and career plans through hands-on exposure in the construction industry. A recent recipient of a Going Pro Grant by the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development, this group is comprised of Detroit Employment Solutions Corp, Black Caucus Foundation, MI Laborers and Operating Engineers 324 career centers, MITA, Levy corporation, MI Paving and Materials Company, Angelo Iafrate Construction Co, Ideal Group Construction, Barton Malow Southfield, Dan’s Excavating, Toebe Construction, CA Hull, Cadillac Asphalt, AJAX and Utility Services of America.

Construction Science Expo: A coalition of 27 companies, including the Black Caucus Foundation, professional labor unions, construction and design companies, engineering associations and colleges and have been working to fill the construction career pipeline since 2010. The annual Expo event is held in Detroit at the Michigan Science Center. www.constructionscienceexpo.com