The Workforce Intelligence Network is a non-profit consortium of nine community colleges and six Michigan Works! agencies, which collaborated to bring a second $4 million U.S. Department of Labor apprenticeship grant to Michigan.

On January 9, 2020, the US DOL recognized the current efforts of WIN partners as one of the Top 15 national performers for the current multi-year US DOL American Apprenticeship Initiative grant which ends on September 30, 2020. Oakland Community College is the fiscal agent for the new U.S. DOL Closing the Skills Gap grant which has higher outcomes to meet.

The grant application, largely prepared by the Workforce Intelligence Network Executive Director, Michele Economou Ureste, commits the WIN partners to serving 3,200 apprenticeship training participants and 720 registered apprentices in the manufacturing sector over a 48-month period beginning on March 1, 2020. Apprenticeships provide an opportunity that is especially important to individuals who are in a low-wage job and unable to take time off work to obtain a credential. With an apprenticeship, they can “earn and learn’’ their way to a credential in a good-paying career.

Achieving these outcomes requires the collective strength of each institution for higher education and workforce development boards which include: Henry Ford College, Macomb Community College, Monroe County Community College, Mott Community College, Oakland Community College, Schoolcraft College, Washtenaw Community College, Wayne County Community College, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation, GST Michigan Works!, Macomb-St. Clair Michigan Works!, Michigan Works! Southeast, Oakland County Michigan Works!, and SEMCA Michigan Works!.

The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) is the automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) trade association, comprised of over 3,700 automotive suppliers, and the AIAG CEO Scot J. Sharland obtained a board resolution in support of the grant to promote apprenticeship as a talent development strategy to meet labor demands. Other key partners include Focus:HOPE, Jackson Area Manufacturing Association, Detroit Regional Workforce Board and the United Way for Southeast Michigan, UAW International, Magna International, and Serve Electric.

Brandon Tucker, Dean of Advanced Manufacturing and Public Service Careers at Washtenaw Community College and Amy Jones, Associate Dean of Occupational Programs – Engineering & Technology with Schoolcraft College both recognize apprenticeship as growing in popularity since it is an “earn-while-you-learn” career pathway that results in a national certification which can lead to an Associate degree and obtaining in-demand skills training. “This is yet another example of how the strong workforce development partnership we have in southeast Michigan, led by WIN, is producing great benefits for our workers, employers, and regional economy,” said Gregory Pitoniak, Chief Executive Officer of SEMCA Michigan Works!.

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