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Labor Management Education Committee – Lee Graham, Summer 2021

The Michigan construction industry held Construction Career Day, a career exploration event designed to introduce students and youth to good-paying jobs and careers in the Construction industry was held on Thursday, May 6. This event is a partnership among construction businesses, skilled trades organizations, government and schools. Construction Career Days is free to those who attend and was held virtually this year to promote safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For many years, Michigan Construction Career Days has been the premier hands-on Construction Career exploration event in the state, drawing thousands of students. It was very important to us that we have an event this year, while also adhering to the safety guidelines we teach every day. The online platform allowed us to continue to connect with the students that will make up the next workforce generation, interact with them and hopefully inspire them to the possibilities for a great future career in the Construction industry.

Over 1,500 7th-12th grade students from school districts across Michigan took part in the annual event, including hourly sessions from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Students were not limited by any geographic boundaries with virtual technology, allowing schools from around the entire state of Michigan to participate. Instructors conducted hundreds of video and chat conversations with industry professionals to ask questions and experience simulations on construction equipment and high-tech devices. In addition to gathering information about all aspects of the construction industry, participants could interact with construction professionals, instructors and businesses in their respective field.

Construction Career Days is a joint effort of the Michigan Apprenticeship Steering Committee (MASCI), skilled trades unions such as Operating Engineers 324, the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Bricklayers, Laborers and others, as well as construction employers and colleges and universities. We are proud to participate in this event and look forward to many more.

Construction Science Expo was back this May and celebrated its 10th year! Construction Science Expo has provided a hands-on learning experience for middle and high school students to be exposed to the importance of skilled trades. On May 18th, we had a virtual live broadcast of the 10th Annual Construction Science Expo. Students from all over the state, who have signed a drug-free pledge, were able to tune in and spend a day learning about careers in the engineering and construction fields through a variety of speakers and hands-on experiences.

This spring, we had a virtual MiCareerQuest. This gave students the opportunity to rotate through sectors highlighting five high-demand industries: agribusiness, advanced manufacturing, construction, health sciences and information technology. Students were able to virtually engage with professionals and participate in online activities that showcased various high-growth occupations, opening their eyes to opportunities for great careers in Michigan. This event helped students make the connection between training, education and future careers.

The 91st Michigan Safety Conference will take place at the Lansing Center in Lansing, MI on April 12-13, 2022. The conference will include over 110 classes addressing workplace health and safety issues, behavioral safety information and leadership topics. Please note, the classes are eligible for CEU credit. The event will also host a trade show with 200 companies exhibiting their workplace health and safety products and services. Annually, the Safety Professional of the Year, the Leadership Award winner and the Distinguished Service Award winner are announced. This is a celebration of the work that safety professionals are doing to protect Michigan workers and to help make sure that they go home to their family at the end of their shift. To find out more information about the conference, the Safety Spectrum podcast series, or the Michigan Safety Conference virtual 5k, go to

In March, we had the Access for All Apprenticeship and Readiness Training held in weekly informational zoom sessions. This program is developed by the construction building trades to help individuals qualify for training and employment opportunities in the construction industry. It was a 9-week pre-apprenticeship training program that connects Detroiters with construction jobs throughout the region. The training included blueprint reading, construction math, health and safety, CPR/ First aid, building trades, labor history and onsite visits to local projects and Apprenticeship Programs.

Coming up on July 17th, we have the 2021 Big Dig Construction vs. Cancer. This lifesaving platform was created to activate the Michigan construction industry in the fight against pediatric cancer, while introducing local youth to the exciting world of construction, the skilled trades and STEM. Although substantial progress has been made against the most common types of pediatric cancers, survival rates remain low for some types of childhood cancer and ongoing health concerns and quality of life of survivors continues to require our attention. Learn more about what we are doing to save lives and prevent suffering at every age and every stage of cancer at and volunteer for the event.

Lee Graham
Executive Director
Labor-Management Education Committee