Bill Loomis| Crain’s Custom Media
In his kick-off address, Chris Ilitch president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, said to attendees of the Career Opportunity Expo at Cobo Hall: “Together we’re going to create one of the world’s finest entertainment districts!”
But his kick-off also marks the start of a very aggressive campaign to find and train employees in the city of Detroit.
Ilitch Holding’s Olympia Development is working Detroit Employment Solutions Corp., regional unions, social non-profits, and private businesses to recruit Detroit residents for construction of a $450 million dollar new Red Wings hockey arena and fifty acres of land between downtown and Midtown Detroit that will feature restaurants, hotels and retail shops.
Building contractors selected for the project are required to make 51 percent of their workforce Detroit residents, which means they will need to sign up 1,400 Detroiters. Tuesday marked the first of six planned Career Opportunity Expos will be used to reach out to job seekers. The dates and locations have not been released.
“The strategy is first to supply Detroiters for construction, and then move onto service industry jobs,” said Bonnie Lobert, Human Resources Manager for DESC. “Everyone from Detroit is encouraged to apply for the jobs. After assessing a person’s skill level, even applicants with no experience can start out as apprentices, which are paid positions.”
The arena work has an added benefit as a training ground for workers to tackle other big jobs on the horizon, including the city’s blight removal blitz, M-1 Rail and the planned New International Trade Crossing bridge project slated to span the river between Detroit and Windsor.
But, with all the major construction projects coming to Southeast Michigan, the need for skilled labor has become critical.
Richard Acosta, director of the DESC’s Business Services Division, still, remains upbeat.
“This will be challenging,” he said. “But I’m really happy with the excitement so far.”
[divider scroll_text=”For more information, go to www.districtdetroit.com/jobs“]
For more information, go to www.districtdetroit.com/jobs