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A Good Career

By David Dauch

Skilled trades are critical to the region’s industrial future

Without question, the Detroit region is in the midst of a critical phase in its effort to rebuild. What built the Motor City and its ironclad reputation was the toil, determination and intelligence of hardworking men and women. We are on the way back and on track to recapturing just one of the many things that make this iconic city great. Yet, regardless of the positive data and our optimism for the future, at the center of this vision must be a ready population of talented and skilled people ready to contribute. There are jobs to fill and without them, we cannot succeed. At American Axle & Manufacturing (AAM), we uphold several tenants, including a commitment to quality and technology leadership. Upholding this commitment requires access to exceptionally skilled people.

A most vital piece of this effort lies in effectively closing the skilled trades gap. Now more than ever in an effort to strengthen our region and its signature industry, we need men and women who are truly prepared to take on tomorrow’s challenges today. This means we must support and encourage young men and women who are engaged in the STEM disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. These areas of study are foundations for everything we do in the automotive and related industries. Without a reliable talent pool, we cannot thrive and excel in the 21st century century.

Engineers envision and create a product with the support of machinists, electricians, millwrights, pipefitters, toolmakers and machine repair specialists. Everyone plays a role. And higher education programs, including two-year associate degrees, help to further strengthen the workforce, as these positions are vital to supporting the ever-increasing technology and complexity that keeps our manufacturing floors running. Without the best talent in all these areas, we cannot exceed our customers’ expectations as a world-class Tier-1 automotive supplier.

AAM is committed to doing our part to train, grow and retain this region’s talent pool. At the forefront, we believe in the power of collaboration in providing rich training opportunities for our future leaders. AAM currently partners with local resources, including the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, state universities and community colleges, as these organizations are connected to the pulse of the latest educational strategies and are particularly valuable in connecting with future talent.

David Dauch Quote 2AAM is also particularly excited to be on the forefront of finalizing plans for a world-class training center in Michigan, where we will focus on orientation programs, developing skilled trades, specialized technical skills and leadership development. It will be located on our Detroit campus and will operate in conjunction with our Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC).

The ATDC will feature operations such as technology benchmarking, prototype development, advanced technology development and training. Slated to open this fall, this world-class facility will be the first of its kind in Detroit.

Through the results of this effort, AAM will be a catalyst in creating approximately 1,000 new Detroit jobs over the next five years on the campus of our world headquarters. These include positions hired directly into AAM, as well as through relationships with strategic campus partners and new tenants.

Skilled trade positions, and others like it, are central to bolstering Michigan’s industrial future. We cannot overemphasize the importance of preparing the next generation of specialized trades. Our future – Detroit’s future – depends on it.