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Labor Management Education Committee – Lee Graham, Spring 2019

Labor Management Education Committee – Lee Graham, Spring 2019

Winter may have arrived later than usual, but now Spring is right around the corner and for Labor Management, it is a chance to continue the many great opportunities and projects we have been working on throughout the cold months. We continue to be proud of the many exciting things we are part of.

In January, we headed to the U.P. for our 16th annual Signatory Contractor Roundtable, at our Northern Michigan Construction Career Center in Gladstone. We met with representatives from across the U.P. This includes several guest speakers. Upper Peninsula House Representative Sara Cambensy presented her thoughts and agenda for the work she is undertaking in Lansing to move the region and skilled trades forward. She was joined for the first time by new State Senator Ed McBroom who spoke about t both the expanding opportunities and workforce development in the trades. Bob Lehto of Enbridge presented information about Line 5 and the plan for upcoming pipeline work in Michigan. The U.P. Construction Council’s own Tony Retaskie said a few words about the many projects that are underway. He also spoke of the philanthropic work carried out by the skilled trades that often goes unrecognized. It was a successful roundtable where relationships strengthened and good dialogue and conversation continued.

In February, the roundtables moved to the Bay Area where the turnout was fantastic with participation from representatives of that area. We were joined by another impressive list of speakers. Enbridge was again represented by Emma Cook who gave a presentation on the Straits tunnel project. State Representative Brian Elder of Bay City spoke about the many opportunities and projects occurring in the region, and the also excitement of the new faces at the Capitol in Lansing. Chris Nagel of Consumers Energy spoke about the strength and necessity of partnership between labor and energy. Perhaps most impressively, we were able to meet and speak with Paul Ajegba, the new Director of MDOT. Ajegba has 28 years of experience with the Michigan Department of Transportation and was appointed director on January 1, 2019. It was our pleasure to make his acquaintance and we look forward to continuing and maintaining the great relationship OE324 and MDOT have shared.

In the months ahead, we will have two more Roundtables – in Detroit and Grand Rapids and we anticipate them being successful as well.

One of the most important tasks we undertake as professionals is staying atop changes in industry regulations. For that reason, on Wednesday, January 30th Operating Engineers 324 hosted an Industry Forum Luncheon to review and discuss the recent changes being implemented to all Cranes and Derricks in Construction. Operating Engineers 324 Crane and Rigging Instructor Derek Sather and Paul Wrzesinski from AGC, led an in-depth look into changes that have already taken place and others that are soon to be enacted. The Forum was incredibly well attended, with over 150 representatives of the industry coming to take part in the discussion. The representatives asked questions about these new Federal OSHA standards and how both labor and management?? can comply with them in order to continue to be the safest, most highly skilled professionals.

The State of Michigan’s Marshall Plan for Talent has moved into its next stage and we are proud to partner with a number of school districts and take part in their Consortiums. Through our involvement in the Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3),a comprehensive, nationally recognized apprenticeship readiness training this program, and our industry leading experience with Simulators, we are able to provide these Consortiums a partner who can truly help prepare the next generation of skilled tradespeople. The MC3 program was developed and approved by the Building Trades National Apprenticeship and Training Committee and recognized by the US Department of Labor. The MC3 is offered in cooperation with state and local Building Trades Councils, which are essential participants in any MC3 program. There are currently 130 MC3 programs throughout the U.S., serving students in middle schools, high schools, community colleges, community-based organizations and other non-profit organizations.

In order to identify, attract and retain that next generation of skilled trades persons, we continue to be very involved in a number of Career Fairs and exploration programs. In December, we took part in the Holly Career Fair had the opportunity to engage dozens of young people with a hands-on experience that allows them to experience a small part of what an exciting career as an Operating Engineer may offer them.

In the next few months, the trees will begin to sprout leaves again, baseball season will be upon us and before we know it, Construction Career Days – and our Family Day – will be here hosted at the Sam T. Hart Construction Career Center in Howell. This year, the Construction Career Days are scheduled for May 1st & 2nd where high-schoolers join us from all over the State. The Family Career Day picnic is scheduled for Saturday, May 4th. Please join us for the fun-filled family day and remember to bring a dish to pass for the luncheon.

Good luck and stay warm – Summer is right around the corner!

Lee Graham
Executive Director LMEC