Like many states around the country, Michigan is experiencing a shortage of workers to fill jobs in the skilled trades. The state’s Department of Talent and Economic Development estimates more than half a million skilled trades jobs will be created by 2026; jobs that offer good salaries without requiring a four-year college degree. The state, along with employers who are dependent on these workers, are collaborating to address the talent gap and attract students to these fields.
While the number of jobs in the skilled trades is growing, companies are struggling to hire workers with the right skills to fill these positions. To narrow the gap, DTE Energy is spearheading several initiatives aimed at attracting and training students for careers in the skilled trades, particularly in the energy industry.
One DTE partner is MIAT College of Technology, a Canton-based education institution that has been providing technical career training for 50 years. Students can earn certificates and associate’s degrees in high demand fields including aviation maintenance, energy, industrial manufacturing, renewable energy, global logistics and dispatch, welding and heating, ventilation and air conditioning and refrigeration.
MIAT now offers local employers who hire their students with the ability to sponsor and brand a classroom. DTE took its sponsorship one step further, holding a small celebration and ribbon-cutting once its classroom makeover was complete.
“MIAT College of Technology is thrilled to partner with DTE, an industry leader in the energy sector, in showcasing the importance of the relationship between industry and professional skilled trades training facilities,” said Jennifer Paugh, president, MIAT College of Technology. “With DTE’s sponsorship of a classroom in our Michigan facility of MIAT College of Technology, students and graduates are exposed to our ongoing collaboration, have increased awareness of DTE career opportunities, and is developing an improved understanding of the support the industry has for skilled trades training in general.”
MIAT offers one of the few training programs in Michigan for people interested in pursuing a career as a wind turbine technician, a job that is among the fastest growing in the country. MIAT has offered its wind energy training program for 11 years and has seen 2,200 of its students enter the workforce since this program’s inception, with more than 600 graduating within the last five years alone.
DTE’s branded classroom is a tangible reminder of our company’s commitment to building the next generation of Michigan workers, especially those in the skilled trades and just one way the company is working to generate excitement around the breadth of opportunity the energy industry offers.
“Our industry offers a tremendous range of jobs in the skilled trades,” said Tracy DiSanto, manager, Workforce Planning and Analytics, and co-chair of the Michigan Energy Workforce Development Consortium. “Partnerships with schools like MIAT and other career and technical centers are utterly beneficial for DTE and the organization, as they provide us with an opportunity to shape the training these programs provide and encourage students to consider our company as a future employer.”