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A Collaborative of Building and Construction Trades, Unions and Union Contractors Creating Middle Class Employment and Career Opportunities in Michigan.

Introduction: To further promote the rebirth and development of Detroit, a comprehensive occupational skills training strategy is needed to create full time, career employment for the unemployed and underemployed workforce. The union construction industry is uniquely qualified – especially at this point in time – to provide such career opportunities through its proven system of post-secondary apprenticeship training leading to a journeyperson certification. The projected increase in infrastructure and commercial and industrial construction in the City of Detroit from 2014 forward will combine with the pending loss of a generation of skilled union journeypersons, born during the baby boom years between 1946 and 1964, to create both an unprecedented demand for skilled union construction workers and a significant and a unique opportunity for Detroit Residents who are seeking and can benefit from career opportunities in the union construction industry. Access for All – A public-private community-union-management collaborative partnership has been formed to address this issue and develop such a strategy for the union construction industry.

The Collaborative:

The Access for All Apprenticeship Readiness Program is a Detroit area collaborative partnership made up of:

  • Funder (Detroit Regional Workforce Fund – Provided funding to develop a pilot proposal)
  • Community-Based Partners 
  • Labor and their Joint Apprenticeship Training Committees (JATCs) for six building and construction trades (Carpenters, Ironworkers, Operating Engineers, Electricians, Cement Masons and Laborers),
  • a Construction Industry Organization,(Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association)
  • a State Agency, (Michigan Department of Transportation), and
  • a private, non-profit workforce development organization, Michigan State AFL-CIO Human Resources Development, Inc. (Michigan HRDI),

Program Elements:

  •  Recruitment, screening and selection of Detroit residents for training
  • Apprenticeship readiness training
  • Construction worksite work experience
  • Union Apprenticeship Training enrollment
  • Placement in employment with Union Construction Contractors
  • Follow-up and wrap-around services

Program Requirements:

  • 18 years or older
  • Resident of the City of Detroit
  • Valid Michigan Drivers License
  • Workforce Investment Act Eligibility – preferred only
  • Pass a 9 panel drug test consistent with Management and Unions Serving Together (MUST) standards for Metropolitan Detroit Building Trades
  • Pass a construction industry physical exam (with standards defined by Access for All construction industry partners)
  • Scores of at least level 4 in WorkKeys applied math, reading for information and locating information assessments
  • Reliable transportation – must own or have access to car to get to and from construction worksites
  • Complete a personal interview with a panel of interviewers, including Labor-Management Joint Apprenticeship Training Program representatives, community agency partners, workforce development organization representatives and an experienced apprenticeship readiness instructor

Program Completion Requirements:

  •  Successfully complete all elements of the 8-week/240 hours of Access for All Apprenticeship Readiness training, including compliance with attendance requirements.
  • Complete 4 day, construction worksite hands-on experience.
  • Achieve Certifications as follows:
  1. Access for All Apprenticeship Readiness Program Completion Certificate
  2. National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC)
  3. MIOSHA-30 Construction workplace safety Certificate
  4. American Red Cross – First Aid/ Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)/ Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Certificate

Placement Assistance: Access for All Program staff will work with individual program graduates on job seeking skills and resume development and will coordinate with local workforce and union partners to provide referrals to union apprenticeship training programs and to union contractors for employment opportunities.

Follow-Up and Employment Retention Assistance:

  •  Career planning and counseling
  • Assistance with work-related problems
  • Supportive services (if funding is available and participant is WIA-eligible).

Outcomes: Unemployed and underemployed Detroit residents are enrolled in building trades union apprenticeship programs that lead to journeyperson certification and a middle class career in the union construction industry.

Conclusion: This collaborative can work with existing programs that provide recruiting, screening and training for qualified City of Detroit residents. A comprehensive training approach is critical to the success of applicants entering into Building Trades apprenticeships and the Trades are the critical link. As part of the development process, Access for All is also working to identify and engage other partners with an interest in this process – including the Detroit Public Schools and the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation.

Click here to visit the Access for All website for more information!

Written by

Seneca has worked with the Detroit Jobs Alliance since 2016.

4 thoughts on “ACCESS FOR ALL

  1. I am interested in the cement department. I have my own tools for finishing cement process as well as 3 years experience. I look forward to communicating with a representative in the near future. Thank you for any consideration.

  2. Nickole Triplett
    I’m interested in information about the journeymen program. Specifically about becoming an electrician would appreciate any information.

    • Hello Nickole! The current cohort of Access for All is underway so applications have closed, but we will be re-opening the applications in a month or so for the next cohort! Please visit for more information. You can use the contact info there to reach someone directly if you have any other questions!

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