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Labor Management Education Committee – Lee Graham, Fall 2018

With summer coming to an end and fall quickly arriving, a quick recap of a few great things we are partnered with.

We are always seeking new and inventive ways to identify and encourage the next generation of skilled tradespeople. Knowing that not all students get the exposure to skilled trades, which help educate them about the possibilities and opportunities available, pre-apprenticeships have become more important than ever to engage the skilled tradespeople of tomorrow. That is why we are honored to partner with Detroit Workforce of the Future who is on the forefront of those efforts. Detroit Workforce of the Future (DWF) and Career Readiness program is a 16-week pre-apprenticeship program designed to prepare Detroit youth for a career in the skilled trades. Working with partners in the construction industry, construction employers, labor unions, industry associations and community development, DWF was the recipient of a grant from Michigan’s Going PRO program for 2018. DWF graduates have spent their program time learning necessary skills, shadowing a number of construction jobs, and meeting with mentors and instructors. Upon graduation, they are prepared to enter apprenticeships leading to lifelong careers in the rapidly growing construction sector.

Another great opportunity for the next generation of skilled tradespeople is Access for All. Currently, Access for All is for residents of the city of Detroit. However they are making strides statewide. This free, thirteen-week training is designed to prepare students for apprenticeship readiness in the building and construction trades. Access for All participants who complete the training are able to apply for apprenticeship openings in participating building trades and also apply for jobs with union construction contractors. OE324 is proud to have partnered with the Access for All Detroit Pre-Apprenticeship program to work on the revitalization project in the neighborhood around Fitzgerald Park in Detroit. We were assisted in this outreach by Adamo Construction, Michigan CAT, RBV Contracting, Inc. and Sunbelt Rentals, all of whom loaned equipment. Our partnership with Access for All has goes back several years and have led several great apprentices into our ranks.

Recently OE324 sponsored the Heavy Equipment Rodeo which is hosted by Great Lakes Fusion. This fun-filled family event, included a touch-a-truck for kids, food trucks, and 3 events including 3 separate machines skills competition. All proceeds go towards Project Pay It Forward (PPIF) to assist in providing meals at Thanksgiving and bicycles to children at Christmas time with Shiawassee County. Congratulations to OE324 member, Rob Wheaton, from Ric-Man Construction, who he was the overall champion.

Operating Engineer 324 participated and sponsored Women Build: Exploring Careers in Construction Day on September 8th. This event is hosted by Women in Skilled Trades (WIST). WIST has partnered with a number of skilled trades unions to bring a day filled with hands-on activities and work sessions, to learn about the exciting career opportunities in the skilled trades. The organization strives to prepare women for a fulfilling career in the construction skilled trades and connect them with other tradeswomen

Operating Engineers continue to partner in supporting the final stages of the 1st Battalion, 24th Marines Regiment Memorial in Chesterfield Township. This memorial is shaping up to be an impressive and moving monument and reminder to all of us of the high cost of freedom and valor of those who make the ultimate sacrifice for it. I would like to thank the latest supporting partners: Roese Pipeline, Barton Malow, Roncelli Inc., Stoneco, Michigan CAT, Dan McKernan for all PR, John Osika and all of the Operating Engineers Construction Career Center staff, retirees, journey workers, and apprentices.

Careers in Energy Week will take place October 15th- 19th. The Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) and member companies began in 2010, working together to create a week-long event to increase the public’s awareness about energy careers throughout the nation. Careers in Energy Week is always an opportunity for energy companies and their local communities to sponsor special events where schools, families, and other businesses can learn more about how your company operates and the importance it has in the economy. On Thursday, October 18th from 5PM-8PM, the Operating Engineers along with Hartland High School will showcase the latest equipment and technology operated and used in the energy sector.

The Build Initiative’s Project Accelerate! has recently kicked-off their last #PA cohort of 2018. For the first time ever, it was held on the west side of the state hosted by Michigan CAT and partnered with OE324 in Grand Rapids. This free 7-week course is designed to expose, reinforce and expand careers for women in the construction, engineering, design and trades industries.

OE324 played an active role in The Association of Union Constructors (TAUC) first-ever Industrial Grade Innovation Conference and Expo (IGI) June 19 – 21, 2018 at the Ford Conference and Event Center in Dearborn, Michigan. We brought a CAT Simulator and our Spyder crane and turned the three-day conference into an opportunity to show the TAUC all of the innovative things happening at OE324. We also presented a seminar which focused on identifying and engaging the next generation of skilled tradespeople. The conference was a great success and we are proud to have played a part in it.

Operating Engineers is proud to partner with multiple groups from around the state with the Marshall Plan for Talent. The Marshall Plan for Talent is a revolutionary approach to better prepare Michigan students and adults for the jobs of today and tomorrow. The Marshall Plan for Talent will invest $100 million to create, expand and support educators and businesses who create innovative programs for high-demand, high-wage careers. The Marshall Plan is looking to increase career exploration, evolve to competencybased learning, foster business and education collaboration and create multiple pathways. The goal is to create real, sustainable, meaningful partnerships between business and education.


All of these efforts help encourage the Operating Engineers of tomorrow and let the community know all of the work we are doing daily – to build, to maintain, to operate, and to give back. Have a great fall and stay safe!!

Lee Graham
Executive Director LMEC