Workforce Experts: More Talent Needed to Fill Skilled Trades Gap

In Detroit, there is a disconnect between available jobs and the lack of a skilled workforce to fill these open positions. During the panel, “Skills Wanted: Building Detroit’s Talent,” workforce development experts discussed the importance of providing Detroiters with the skills to fill in-demand jobs.


Key Takeaways:

  • College is not for everyone. There are good-paying, honorable skilled trades jobs available to Detroiters. However, there is a shortage of qualified workers to fill available jobs.
  • Employers are looking to hire people who view roles in skilled trades as a career and not just simply a job.
  • As interest returns to having a career in skilled trades, it is the business community’s responsibility to expose high school students to the various jobs in the trades.
  • Aside from people questioning, “Am I smart enough to do this?” a lack of finances, education and transportation are other barriers that Detroiters face when deciding to participate in tech training programs.
  • Detroit Training Center offers training and certification programs from everything from heavy equipment operation to blight removal and deconstruction training that helps Detroiters overcome obstacles to employment.
  • As a society, we need to get away from the mindset that skilled trades jobs are dirty.

This session was sponsored by DTE Energy Foundation. Panelists included: Marcus Jones, president of Detroit Training Center; Dannis Mitchell, diversity manager of Barton Malow Co.; and Damien Rocchi, founder and CEO of Grand Circus. The panel was moderated by Dave Meador, vice chairman and chief administrative officer of DTE Energy.

Read more from the 2017 Detroit Policy Conference:

Kym Worthy: Public-Private Partnerships Changing Lives for Sexual Assault Victims

Regional Businesses Connect Young Men of Color with Jobs, Pathways to Success

By Daniel Lai

In a visible sign of Detroit’s ongoing economic resurgence, more than 40 national and regional employers descended on Cobo Center on Monday to fill 300 full-time and 100 seasonal positions. The Pathways to Success summit, hosted by My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, connected employers with boys and young men of color.

The job fair drew more than 1,500 young people, who met and interviewed with companies like the Detroit Police Department, Little Caesars, Meijer, Quicken Loans, Starbucks and Walgreens.

As part of its ongoing effort to grow the regional economy, the Detroit Regional Chamber served as a key partner for the Summit, helping to recruit Chamber member businesses to provide jobs and/or training opportunities.

“In Detroit, we’re facing an economic boom in the construction industry but also a trade labor shortage. For so many years, people have been told to go to college and it has taken away from the skilled trades industry overall. We need to replace those workers who are starting to age out,” said Dannis Mitchell, diversity manager at Barton Malow Coimg_9670

“Events like this Summit are a great way to meet these younger individuals and educate them on the steps needed toward a job or apprenticeship,” Mitchell added. “This is a tremendous experience for not only the youth but for the employers who are looking to tap into a new talent pipeline. We want to be a change agent in the community.”

In addition to on-the-spot interviews, the Summit provided free resume building workshops, mock interviews, coaching, haircuts from local barbershops, and sports coats and ties donated by Macy’s.

For more information on My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, visit