Again within our One Michigan companies, we took part in the 2021 Detroit Workforce of the Future program. Through this program, put on by Michigan Construction and a number of partner companies, unions, and educational organizations, brings more than a dozen students on-site to asphalt plants, quarries, and road construction sites to learn about a potential career in construction.
The Detroit Workforce of the Future development program is a thirteen-week training program that introduces students of Cody, Osborn, Pershing, and Randolph High Schools who want to find work immediately out of school. The first half take place in the spring, while the summer portion makes up the final 6 weeks. Through this program, the students try out and observe different construction jobs, and potentially find permanent employment with the companies they shadow.
Cadillac Asphalt first partnered with Michigan Construction for the program’s pilot in 2017, under the leadership of Doug Needham of the Michigan Aggregates Association and Ken Bertolini, Director of Workforce Development for the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association (MITA). The initial class included 8 students who took part in hands-on construction and project management training, as well as taking field trips to construction crews and plants. In the following years, contractors and representatives from Operating Engineers 324 and the Laborers Union joined the program, which expanded to multiple partner schools in the Detroit Metro Area.
Today, teachers and faculty nominate students from local partnering high schools to interview for the program. These students are selected based on their interests and fit for the program. Cadillac Asphalt’s sister company, Stoneco of Michigan, has also joined the program as part of a commitment to support the MITA workforce development team, as well as to attract future talent.
On July 13th, students attended a discussion given by Pat Anglin, a Risk Manager for Michigan Paving & Materials, Stoneco, and Cadillac Asphalt, and a representative from Dan’s excavating, who spoke about their respective organizations, projects, and job opportunities. Students asked questions to both representatives, about company size, projected growth, hours, and benefits offered within the industry. The following day, the participants learned about the OE training program and instructed on how to operate various pieces of equipment such as cranes, loaders, pavers, and rollers. In the coming weeks, students will visit a Stoneco quarry to learn about the mining process, and a quality control lab to learn about the tasks performed there.
On August 9, the students visited Stoneco’s Ottawa Lake Quarry to learn about the quarry process. They took a guided tour, watched a rock demonstration while eating a catered lunch, and participated in a Q&A with some of the quarry employees. They also visited the Quality Control lab to learn about the QC process.
The program wrapped up on August 12 with a Graduation Day. The 19 students of Cohort 5 received tool bad, which included hammers, gloves, safety goggles, face coverings, shirts, and hats donated by Cadillac Asphalt and Stoneco. We as a team in Michigan value the support and involvement with our youth to educate them on the construction industry and be a part of their future in any ways that we can! Good luck to all the students as they start to look to their future for careers!