Detroit’s history is often tied to cars, but today there’s a new industry revving up in this iconic global manufacturing hub: fashion. 

The Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center (ISAIC) is creating a new apparel manufacturing model designed to encourage domestic production, create new career paths for underserved Detroiters and assist in attracting major fashion brands to the region. The DTE Energy Foundation proudly stands beside ISAIC in support of this transformative effort.   

The DTE Foundation became an early supporter of ISAIC’s talent force development with a $30,000 grant to support skills development and apprenticeship at the ISAIC learning and contract manufacturing factory in midtown. This partnership is blazing a path to a good-paying jobs with benefits for people often unaware of – or not able to attain – careers in advanced manufacturing.

ISAIC CEO, Jen Guarino, with a student

“At the DTE Foundation we recognize that programs like those at ISAIC will have a long-term impact on the apprentices and the community for years to come, by creating critical jobs and supporting the local economy,” said Lynette Dowler, president, DTE Foundation. “Together we’ll empower these apprentices to achieve their dreams, become financially independent and continue to drive our city and state forward.”

ISAIC was set to launch apparel manufacturing in April of 2020, but quickly pivoted to produce personal protective equipment to help meet critical needs early in the pandemic. Leading a collaborative of local manufacturers, ISAIC ensured 180,000 isolation gowns reached healthcare professionals and first responders; it also produced 500,000 masks for local businesses. The effort has not only provided protection to thousands who need it, it has also helped keep businesses open and people employed in addition to providing career and professional development opportunities to Michiganders.

Meet one of these women, Veronica Williams, one of ISAIC’s first apprentices: 

For information on ISAIC’s training programs and to purchase PPE, visit www.isaic.org.