CBS Detroit – In a press conference Wednesday, Detroit Mayor Duggan unveiled plans for a 147,000 square-feet, $30 million Carpenters and Millwrights training center in Detroit. The facility just broke ground in the Oakman Boulevard area near Elmhurst and I-96.

Duggan was excited by this new development as it will nearly double the training capacity of the Michigan Council of Carpenters and Millwrights from a little over 800 students to 1,500 students annually. Right now, the union trains apprentices in 5 campuses across Metro Detroit which include Warren, Ferndale, Livonia, and the Renaissance Center. This new facility will tie those training centers together.

Lawrance Hunt Jr. a third-year carpenter’s apprentice said, “I get to actually build Detroit with my own hands.” “We get paid to learn… you graduate debt-free, you don’t have to pay for your books, no tuition at all. So that’s really special”.

According to Tom Lutz, who is the executive Treasurer for the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights said apprentices make $15 per hour while studying, and a skilled journeyman can make over $30 per hour. So not only do these jobs pay, but this school will also be a facility for the union to operate too. So students at the new training center can network with others in the union so that finding the next job in their future career path is easier.

Lutz did say you don’t have to be sponsored by a contractor or company to get into the skilled trades, but you do need a high school diploma or G.E.D. He said that people looking to enter the skilled trades must be very proficient in math skills. While they train people in the types of math skills required to get up to speed, those who come in ready will have an easier time. They also focus not only on the hard skills of construction, but also teach the soft skills like leadership and integrity.

The new training facility will feature 125,000 square feet of training space, state of the art classrooms with smart boards, 30 welding booth stations, a flooring and manipulation area, and high bay spaces for carpenters and millwrights.

Duggan said there are going to over 8,000 houses in neighborhoods across the city being renovated, along with the Gordy Howe Bridge and other large projects, the demand for skilled carpenters and millwrights will be high in the construction industry. Hunt said at just the age of 18 he was working at building Little Caesars Arena, he is now 21 and in the third year of his apprenticeship.


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