Since June, Ford launched a new program alongside of local trade unions, the city of Detroit, and Ford’s lead contractors RAM and Christman-Brinker. The goal of this program is to ensure those seniors and recent graduates of vocational skills schools in the area can get the necessary apprenticeships to continue their career-long journey.

The program offered this opportunity to 12 high school students, and future plans have it growing to as many as 40 as it finds more momentum. Participants are paid hourly and get the benefits of direct mentorship from current professionals in the field. The hope is that this program will help offset the number of current vocational workers retiring and leaving the field. 

“A big part of our project is masonry work and we’ve worked with our partners to design a unique program that starts in the high schools and gets kids exposed to the trades,” says Richard Bardelli, Ford’s construction manager at Michigan Central Station. “From there they get a pathway to an apprenticeship with a first rate contractor like RAM that will really grow their skills.”

The group worked around the city, but primarily focused on the Michigan Central Station. This restoration project hopes to restore the station to its original glory. Over the next two years cleaning, rebuilding, and restoring the structure, the apprentices will build up a veritable catalog of experience that they can take with them in future endeavors. 

“Kids don’t really understand what trade skills like masonry work is but they’ve heard about the train station,” he says. “We can use it as a platform to bring students in, and then they find out that these are really great paying jobs, highly skilled jobs and important jobs.”

Categories: News
Tags: Ford, Jobs, Detroit