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Labor-Management Education Committee – Lee Graham, Winter 2022

With fall coming to an end and winter quickly approaching, the New Year is just around the corner. We take part in a number of events to continue our ongoing relationships and increase our outreach.

On September 21, 2022, Operating Engineers 324 and its partners were able to bring an amazing event to the children at the Detroit Children’s Hospital. This was the first year ever, where we brought the American Cancer Society’s Big Dig event directly to the children most affected by pediatric cancer. Operating Engineers 324 and other members of the construction industry helped kids experience working on heavy equipment right outside the hospital. In the hospital lobby, simulators allowed children who couldn’t leave the hospital the opportunity to still see what operating a construction machine is like. We would like to thank our partners for helping make this event a great success – MacAllister CAT Rentals, Barton Malow, Fessler & Bowman, Alta Equipment, Eagle Excavating, Stoneco, Cadillac Asphalt, and Angelo Iafrate. We would also like to send a special thanks to Children’s Hospital for hosting.

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is a nationwide 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 community. The week-long event highlights the benefits of USDOL OA apprenticeship in preparing a highly-skilled workforce to meet the talent needs of employers across diverse industries.

The 8th Annual NAW took place between November 14-20, 2022. This year, the Michigan Building Trades and MUST Apprenticeship Roadshow hosted an Educator Open House on November 14th at the Operating Engineers 324 Construction Career Center. The event featured opening remarks and updates from Operating Engineers 324 Training Director John Osika, USDOL-OA Michigan State Director Russ Davis, Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Administrative Manager/Apprenticeship Expansion Scott Jedele, Office of Career and Technical Education Director Brian Pyles, Ph.D., and Michigan Building & Construction Trades Council Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Devlin.

The program included two panels: Panel One involved discussion around registered apprenticeships and future outlook. The panel included Anne Brown, Director of Membership, Associated General Contractors of Michigan; Russ Davis, USDOL-OA Michigan State Director; Tom Lutz, Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters Executive Secretary Treasurer; and Cheryl Sanford, Director of Workforce Programming, MUST.

Panel Two involved discussion around guiding students into registered apprenticeship. The panel included: John Hartwell, Operating Engineers 324 Career and Outreach Coordinator; Daryl Gallant, Michigan Laborers Training & Apprenticeship Institute Director; Jenny Geno, Executive Director of Career and Technical Education of Saginaw Intermediate Schools; and Scott Jedele, Administrative Manager, Apprenticeship Expansion of LEO.

The event was a great success, with 90 educators in attendance. Registered apprenticeship is extremely important to our future, and we would like to thank the journeypersons who mentor the apprentices throughout their apprenticeship and shape them for the future. Operating Engineers 324 is proud to be able to participate in the NAW events.

Operating Engineers 324 participated in Life Remodeled’s Six Day Project, October 3-8, to help revitalization efforts within the city of Detroit. This year’s effort took place in the community surrounding Cooley High School. As part of over 6,000 volunteers, we were able to remove blight from vacant properties, mowed over 400 lawns of seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities, delivered 2,000 freshly potted mums, donated and installed 100 Ring video doorbells, and painted addresses on curbs.

We are looking forward to our Contractor Roundtables, kicking it off with our Upper Peninsula Roundtable in January. The Roundtables allow us to speak to our contractors directly and get a great feel for what opportunities and challenges the next year will hold. We will have a lot of progress from the last year to report, so we are excited as ever to get the Roundtables started.

With the New Year, 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 or the MUST Safety App. 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 Hall at 248-451-0324. Please remember that the MUST Program does NOT use the Concentra locations for collections.

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

Lee Graham
Executive Director
Labor-Management Education Committee