Workers in the skilled trades are increasingly in demand throughout metro Detroit and the DTE Energy Foundation is ensuring opportunity becomes reality for thousands of Detroiters seeking the training they need to land career-level jobs.
The Foundation recently provided a grant to support a City of Detroit-led push to rejuvenate the Breithaupt Career Technical Center, where about 580 high school students are now enrolled, doubling last year’s admissions.
An additional 200 adults are projected to take evening classes this fall at Breithaupt. A revamped curriculum offers training in programs like automotive service and collision repair, culinary arts, cosmetology, welding and mechatronics, which combines mechanical engineering and electronics.
“Education and employment are among our top priorities,” said Lynette Dowler, president of the DTE Energy Foundation. “When we give young people the tools they need to succeed, whether it’s through skilled trades training or hundreds of summer jobs our Foundation sponsors, we start them on a journey to a career that can sustain a family and offer upward mobility for a lifetime.”
The work at Breithaupt is not the Foundation’s first foray into skilled trades education. Last year, the Foundation led the charge to rejuvenate Detroit’s Randolph Career Technical Center and relaunch its skilled trades curriculum. Seed funding from the Foundation quickly leveraged contributions totaling $10 million from community partners in addition to more than 1,800 hours of in-kind support from DTE Energy. The results were well worth the effort. Enrollment at Randolph tripled in the 2017-18 academic year to more than 300 high school students.dmissions among both groups have increased again this fall.
Like Randolph, the Breithaupt revitalization project is a partnership involving Detroit Public Schools, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation, the City of Detroit, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s Workforce Development Board and several corporate supporters including DTE Energy and the DTE Energy Foundation. Beyond the Foundation support, DTE Energy has pitched in with full-time project management support to help implement construction and curriculum efforts at Breithaupt. DTE volunteers helped with demolition, construction, and landscaping this summer and donations of equipment and supplies are creating industry-recognized instruction and student learning opportunities.
“There are more career opportunities available to Detroiters than there have been in decades, so it’s important to ensure the next generation has the skills they need to get quality jobs,” said Dowler. “We want to bring new life to Breithaupt through private and public partnerships, as we did for Randolph.”