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Labor Management Education Committee – Lee Graham, Winter 2018

With fall coming to an end and winter quickly arriving, the New Year is just around the corner. This fall has been particularly exciting and busy with OE324 taking part in a number of events to continue both our ongoing relationships and increase our outreach.

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is a national celebration that offers leaders in business, labor, education, and other critical partners a chance to demonstrate their support for registered apprenticeship. NAW also gives apprenticeship sponsors the opportunity to showcase their programs, facilities, and apprentices in their local community. The week-long event highlights the benefits of apprenticeship in preparing a highly-skilled workforce to meet the talent needs of employers across diverse industries. Apprenticeship is extremely important to us here at OE324, and we were proud to participate in the NAW events by hosting one of our own.

The 4th Annual NAW took place November 12th through the 18th. On November 13th, the Operating Engineers 324 were joined by Ironworkers Local 25, USDOL/OA, Michigan Building and Construction Trades and MUST and hosted a NAW Counselors Open House at the OE324 Construction Career Center.

The event was a great success with input and positive feedback from State Director of the Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship, Russ Davis, Deputy Director of Marketing and Strategy for the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development, Sammie Lukakiewicz, Instructor for Iron Workers 25 Training Center, Roy Canasi, Apprentice Coordinator for Cement Masons Apprenticeship Training Fund, Brian Hersch and Apprenticeship Coordinator for OE324, John Hartwell. Many schools had counselors, teachers, principals, and superintendents in attendance including the following schools Airport, Armada, Brighton, Center Line, Clinton, Clio Area, Corunna, Davison, Detroit Denby High School, Detroit Training Center, Fenton, Frankenmuth, Grand Blanc, Hartland, Holly, Howell, Jackson Area Career Center, Lake Fenton, Linden, Livingston ESA, Madison, Morrice, Mt. Morris, Napoleon, Northwest Alternative High School, Northwest MI Works!, Saginaw ISD, Schoolcraft College, Shiawassee RESD, St. Charles, Tecumseh, Vassar and Walled Lake. We would also like to thank the industry professionals and the OE324 staff who were in attendance and made the event successful.

We understand that Counselors are at ground zero for helping us identify, inspire, and shepherd the next generation of skilled trades people. Events like the one we hosted gives us that valuable opportunity to bring them in and physically show them the efforts and successes of our training programs so that they can go back to the classroom and inform the students of the career opportunities in skilled trades. There is no better way to show counselors than in a hands-on environment and there’s no better way to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week than to showcase what we have to offer at our state-of-the-art Operating Engineers Construction Career Center. From operating heavy equipment to drones to autonomous equipment, our construction apprentices are on the cutting edge of the industry. We look forward to any opportunity that allows us to educate more people in Michigan for the careers of tomorrow.

Regarding the same “hands-on experience”, the goal of MiCareerQuest is to provide students throughout Michigan a unique indoor hands-on experience that will expose them to a broad range of exciting, rewarding career opportunities. This autumn we took part in two separate MiCareerQuest showcases – one taking place November 13th-14th at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center and the other was held November 28th at the Suburban Collection Showplace. This was the first year for these two opportunities, and we were honored to take part. Next year, we will continue to take part in MiCareerQuest Grand Rapids to be held April 24, 2019 at Devos Place, MiCareerQuest Capitol Area to be held April 26, 2019, MiCareerQuest Northwest, to be held May 22, 2019 at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center and MiQuestCareer Northeast to be held May 28th, 2019 at the Industrial Arts Institute in Onaway. Please mark your calendars and spread the word.

October 16th through 20th was Michigan Careers in Energy week and OE324 was pleased to participate and show some of the career opportunities as Operating Engineers in the energy sector. We partnered with DTE and Consumers Energy to highlight work that is being done everyday to keep Michigan powered up. This includes showcasing jobs in power stations that use traditional fuel sources like natural gas, to pipeline distribution, and emerging opportunities in solar and wind power generation. As part of this weeklong celebration, we participated in an Open House at Highland High School, speaking to students and their parents engaging their interests with our Spyder crane and simulators. It was a successful event and the entire week helped to further our engagement with both students and the energy community.

This year, the Sachse Construction Academy took place at Detroit’s Eastern Market and brought hundreds of students together to have the opportunity to talk to skilled tradespeople and consider what a career in the construction industry would be like. Operating Engineers 324 was well represented with simulators and apprentice speakers who engaged the students with questions and answers about the industry and application process. We were amazed by the thoughtful and inquisitive questions from the students. By joining with other trades in opportunities like these, we get to raise awareness of the great work we do every day, while also educating communities about the work going on around them. Hopefully we inspire a few students at the same time!

Life Remodeled is a Detroit non-profit organization whose main objective is to remodel lives – one neighborhood at a time. That means community investment and efforts to assist neighborhoods with revitalization. Recently, Operating Engineers 324 participated in Life Remodeled’s Six Day Project to help clean up neighborhoods in the city of Detroit. OE324 thanks those partners who helped us in this community revitalization project: Michigan CAT/ MacAllister Rentals Michigan, Stante Excavating/BV Excavating, Sunbelt Rentals, Klochko Equipment Rental Company, Inc., and United Rentals. With over 10,397 volunteers, Life Remodeled was able to beautify 316 city blocks, board up 396 houses, clear 102 alleyways, plant more than 700 trees/shrubs and build 6 community gardens. Life Remodeled was also able to install 20 little free libraries along safe routes, 3 new bus shelters, 5 grills/picnic tables at neighborhood parks and 2 sets of bleachers for Central High School softball field. This is a tremendous accomplishment and all those involved from the sponsors to the volunteers, should be applauded!

Operating Engineers recently sponsored and hosted a booth at the HarvestFest Detroit on October 27th. This free family day event featured many activities such as hayrides,
bounce houses, live music, pumpkin carving and trick or treating. Families were asked to bring canned goods & nonperishable food items to help those in need over the upcoming winter months.

We are looking forward to our Contractor Roundtables, starting with our Upper Peninsula Roundtable in January. The Roundtables allow us to speak to our contractors directly in a more personal setting and allows us to get feedback for what opportunities and challenges we face in the upcoming year. We have made a lot of progress from last year and are excited to report on it and get the Roundtables started.

The 2019 Michigan Safety Conference will be held April 16th-17th in Grand Rapids. With over 2,200+ attendees, this safety conference has one of the highest attendance rates by safety professionals in the nation. Operating Engineers 324 looks forward to once again sponsoring this event. OE324 will be in attendance with a booth and simulators and we will also be doing 2 presentations. On April 16th there will be an update presentation with Graham Brent, Executive Director of National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) joined by Derek Sather, Crane Instructor for Operating Engineers 324 Construction Career Center. On April 17th there will be a presentation on Excavation Hazards from Tim Maguire, Senior Safety Manager at Barton Malow and he will be joined by Bob Nash, Instructor for Operating Engineers 324 Construction Career Center.

We continue to be involved in many community projects as well as volunteering our time and skills to help others. During this fall the Operating Engineers worked toward
completion on a Marine Veterans Memorial in Chesterfield, a school baseball diamond in Fenton and other local projects that help the communities where we live and work every day. These projects are an important part of our mission to give back.

With the New Year approaching, please remember to check your MUST status and see that you have all safety modules completed. These modules expire every four years and you should have a “current” status with your drug test. Check your status by logging on to When you get to the “Member Login” screen use your MUST identification number or your Social Security number as your ID and the first four digits of your Social Security number as your password. You can then check your report card for your status. If you run into any problems, need access to your MUST modules or need a MUST drug screening, please contact the Union Office at (248) 451-0324. Please remember that the MUST program does NOT use the Concentra locations for collections.

Finally, 2018 has been a year of great growth for OE324 and the state of Michigan alike. I would like to take a moment and say welcome to all of our new members! You have chosen a truly rewarding career path and joined a great organization! We’re excited to have you!

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy New Year.

Lee Graham
Executive Director LMEC