As the cost of college grows and the need for skilled trade workers is making news, the focus on career technical education and apprenticeships is becoming sharper. While Macomb County is a center of manufacturing in a variety of industries such as automotive, defense, and aerospace, it is also a center of some excellent career technical education and apprenticeship programs.
Interest in apprenticeship programs is growing around Metro Detroit to fill the need for skilled workers. It was recently announced that the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation has granted $1.5 million to fund 100 local technology apprenticeships over the next few years. These funds will be used by a coalition of workforce development agencies and community colleges through the Apprenti training program to fill the needs of tech employers.
Macomb Community College is a strong proponent of and conduit for these programs for our region. The Michigan Apprenticeship Program Plus (MAP+) is a pre-apprenticeship program for students who are focused on the skilled trades. The program consists of four classes to provide base skills that earns students an Industrial Readiness Certificate as well as training in workplace readiness skills through the college’s Career Services department. The college also sets up an event for these students to give them the opportunity to interview with several companies to find an employment match.
Companies are appealing to potential workers directly too. For example, Baker Industries, in Macomb, offers paid apprenticeships promoting on the job training in a number of fields such as CAD design, welding, and quality assurance. These are full time jobs with benefits for those just out of high school.
Other programs also reach right into high schools to provide training that connects students directly to job skills.