Michigan leaders visit Saginaw for skilled trades tour

Emily Guerrant

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Students at Saginaw Career Complex showcase programs that train future talent

Saginaw, Mich. – Students today at the Saginaw Career Complex had the opportunity to show state leaders the programs and careers they are pursuing in skilled trades as part of a statewide tour. 

Steve Arwood, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and Stephanie Comai, director of the Michigan Talent Investment Agency, toured the Saginaw Career Complex campus and facilities to see the innovative projects being worked on by students and instructors in programs including welding, IT, graphic arts and culinary. 

“Because there is a high demand for people with technical skills, there are so many opportunities for young talent to find good-paying, sustainable jobs in skilled trades,” said Arwood. “We realize many of the students in these programs are already interested in a skilled-trades career path, and we’re hoping they can help us by becoming ambassadors for the industry and promoting these careers to their peers.” 

There is a demand for skilled talent in Michigan, with more than 8,300 skilled trade jobs currently available in the state, and more than 6,700 job openings expected every year through 2022.

Following the tour, they joined Kevin Blazejewski, senior engineering technical analysis at Consumers Energy, to talk with students about how the in-demand skills they are learning now can lead to successful, well-paying careers. 

Saginaw was the third stop on a statewide tour spearheaded by Gov. Rick Snyder to connect with students, parents and educators to address perceptions and create more awareness on skilled trade careers. 

“There is a high demand for people with technical skills, which means our young talent has the opportunity to pursue careers that offer good-paying, sustainable jobs,” said Comai. “However, the skilled trades industry faces misperceptions and we need to continue to talk about these career options in Michigan. Opportunities to visit with students like we did today are very important.” 

Today's skilled trades are jobs that are growing and evolving in industries such as health care (lab technicians, dental hygienists), maintenance and repair, public safety, manufacturing (machine operators, welders), construction, carpentry, plumbing and electrical work. Skilled trade jobs typically require education beyond high school, along with on-the-job training, but not a four-year degree. 

“The students at Saginaw Career Complex are talented individuals who are pursuing great careers in areas that they are passionate about,” said Mark Frost, administrator at Saginaw Career Complex. “These students are the future workforce that will help grow our economy and communities in Michigan.” 
Attracting future talent and addressing perceptions is crucial as employers will continue to actively seek skilled talent to fill the growing number of job openings each year. 

The governor and Legislature remain committed to supporting the skilled trades. 

In May 2015, a partnership was announced between the Michigan Economic Development CorporationMichigan’s Talent Investment AgencyMike Rowe, TV host and founder of mikeroweWORKS, and Tom Daldin, host of Under the Radar Michiganto create videos that address common misconceptions and perceptions about skilled trades. These videos can be viewed on the MEDC YouTube channel.
In October 2014, Snyder announced a $50 million grant program to provide funding that enables Michigan community colleges to purchase equipment required for educational programs in high-wage, high-skill, and high-demand occupations; the largest investment of its kind in the country.
For more information about skilled trades in Michigan, visit www.mitalent.org/skilled-trades/

Pure Michigan is a brand representing business, talent and tourism initiatives across Michigan. These efforts are driven by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which serves as the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business growth, jobs and opportunity with a focus on helping grow Michigan’s economy.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

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