The co-chairs of Detroit's Workforce Development Board say they will be focused in 2018 on replicating the entry-level job-training and adult education for skilled trades programs that the panel created in 2017 as part of a broader effort to "rewire" the city's labor pool.
Cindy Pasky and Dave Meador, co-chairs of the mayor's workforce board, said they're pursuing plans to activate a second skilled trades high school, Breithaupt Career and Technical Center, to hold classes for adults in the evenings.
Randolph Career and Technical Center underwent a makeover in 2017 as part of the workforce board's attempt to resuscitate the Detroit high school from near closure.
In January, Randolph is beginning its adult skilled construction trades night classes and enrollment is expected to exceed the initial goal of 300 adults, Meador said, as "the phone's ringing off the hook for adult education."
"We haven't had this type of adult ed available to individuals in a very long time," Pasky said.
Pasky, CEO of Strategic Staffing Solutions, and Meador, vice chairman of DTE Energy Co., discussed the workforce board's 2018 agenda and 2017 accomplishments in an interview on the Crain's "Detroit Rising" podcast.
Meador said the panel of C-suite executives are working to "rewire" a broken workforce training and development pipeline at a time when employers are experiencing labor shortages while the majority of Detroiters travel to the suburbs each day for work.
"The system wasn't working," Meador said. "If we don't pull it apart, put it back together and hard-wire it — and basically train for jobs that we know exist and are being held for us and place them into the job successfully — we won't make a difference."
Responding to the needs of Detroit's three hospitals, Mayor Mike Duggan's workforce board established a small program in 2017 to train and place Detroiters for entry-level patient care associate positions at St. John Providence, Detroit Medical Center and Henry Ford Health System. The program was developed in coordination with the hospitals, which hired 93 of the 95 graduates, Pasky said.
Workforce officials plan to create similar programs in different industries across the city in 2018, Pasky said.
"We want to take that concept and move it to entry level finance positions and perhaps some entry level IT positions," she said.
Separately, a loosely-organized group of CEOs in Detroit led by DTE Energy Chairman and CEO Gerry Anderson is working to identify any entry-level jobs within their own companies, contractors or supply chains that can filled by Detroiters, Meador said.
"Once we get those jobs identified, we'll set up training programs and start placing people in the training programs and giving them good-paying jobs," Meador said.
Meador and Pasky were interviewed for the "Detroit Rising" podcast at Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co. at 3965 Woodward Ave.
Crain’s Detroit Business (January 2)