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Operating Engineers 324 Director joins Gov. Whitmer’s jobs development board to help boost skilled trades opportunities

Operating Engineers 324 Director joins Gov. Whitmer’s jobs development board to help boost skilled trades opportunities

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Lee Graham, Executive Director of OE324’s Labor Management Education Committee, has been appointed to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s newly created Michigan Workforce Development Board to help increase growth and new opportunities in the skilled trades.  Graham will work with the board on joint labor-management apprenticeship programming for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2022.

“I’m honored to join Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s efforts to expand opportunities for Michigan citizens, including the men and women in our skilled trades professions, so they can get the education, training and jobs that they need for a secure middle-class life,” Graham said. “Michigan has the best skilled workforce anywhere, and Gov. Whitmer’s efforts will encourage more people to consider a good-paying career that allows them to contribute to building Michigan’s future, while earning good wages and benefits. Operating Engineers, the many professional skilled trades, and our construction business partners have a long history of working collaboratively for mutual benefit, and Gov. Whitmer’s Workforce Development Board will encourage diverse stakeholders to collaborate for Michigan’s success.”

Careers in skilled jobs start with apprenticeships and rigorous training and education programs. Apprentices will earn while they learn, working on job sites and receiving good wages and benefits, including healthcare and pension benefits, during their training.

“We are proud to represent the skilled trades and continue the ongoing work to increase awareness of and participation in these vital careers,” said Operating Engineers 324 Business Manager Douglas W. Stockwell.  “Lee Graham is a tireless advocate for the opportunities these careers can provide, and as part of this board, he can continue that mission even further.”

OE324 apprentices work on high-profile projects all over Michigan, learning to operate and repair the cranes, dozers, trucks, excavators and countless other equipment that is constructing the roads, bridges, buildings, energy plants, pipelines, airports, and nearly every large-scale project in the state. Operating Engineers 324 also represent the highly skilled Stationary Engineers who operate and tend complex boiler and HVAC systems and the trained technicians who fix and repair this equipment and keep downtime to a minimum.

Gov. Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-107 on May 29 creating the Michigan Workforce Development Board.

“Here in Michigan, the birthplace of the middle class, we must all work together to ensure paths to opportunity for everyone. This board will be vital in continuing our efforts to grow both our workforce and our economy,” Whitmer said. “This group of leaders will be instrumental in bringing together efforts and partners from key industries to expand our workforce, economy and educational attainment efforts.”

Last year, Governor Whitmer committed Michigan to reaching 60 percent postsecondary educational attainment by 2030. The new Workforce Development Board will be an essential part of this effort as they work to ensure Michiganders can acquire the skills and credentials they need to secure and advance in jobs with family-sustaining wages, as well as give Michigan’s job providers the access they need to skilled workers so they can continue to succeed in a global economy.

The Board is responsible for the development and continuous improvement of the workforce development system in Michigan. The Board will act as an advisory body and will assist the Governor with the development, implementation, and modification of Michigan’s four-year state plan pursuant to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and advance the Governor’s 60 by 30 goal of helping 60% of our workforce achieve a postsecondary degree or certification by 2030

To view Executive Order 2020-107, click the link below: EO 2020-107 Workforce Development Board.pdf