Learn about skilled trades careers at Southfield event

The Southfield Pavilion will welcome the Build Your Future: Skilled Trades event to showcase smart, accessible careers in a wide variety of skilled trades including drywall installation, painting, HVAC, information technology, construction, mechanical contracting, and much more.

The Feb. 14 all-day event is sponsored by Southfield Public Schools and will host middle and high school students during the day. The event will be open to the public in the evening.

As many as 30 booths will feature companies, unions, technical education centers, and community colleges, all offering interactive opportunities with aspects of the trades represented.

This is a chance to learn more about what an average working day in a skilled trade is really like, says Jeffrey Granat, business services specialist and program coordinator at Oakland County Michigan Works Southfield.

“What this event will provide students, their parents, and anyone looking for a career in the skilled trades is a variety of resources and information so they can walk away with a greater understanding of careers and options out there,” says Granat.

Training or an apprenticeship in the skilled trades can be a fast track to a stable career that is always in demand, says John Dignan, director of Post-Secondary Options & Community Partnerships at Southfield Public Schools.

“In a lot of cases, a job in the skilled trades is access to the middle class, with good wages in high demand fields. Through this hands-on event, kids and adults are able to explore, engage and interact with experts in different industries, and gain an awareness of what careers are out there and the skills needed for employment.”

Not just for students

The need for people trained and ready to take on skilled trades jobs at many levels in Southeast Michigan is clear, according to labor market reports released by the Workforce Intelligence Network. During third quarter 2018, there were more than 39,000 job postings for light and heavy truck drivers, nearly 8,000 postings for advanced manufacturing skilled trades and technicians, and 1,800 postings for jobs in construction. In IT, there were 13,436 postings for software developers, and computer specialists and support specialists combined.

“A lot of people don’t know what they don’t know,” says Dignan. “Through this hands-on event, kids and adults and explore, engage, and interact with experts in different industries and gain an awareness of what careers are out there.”

Like most other parts of our lives, skilled trades have been impacted by technology, says Dignan. “What people traditionally view as the skilled trades may not be up-to-date. Even for those who lay floors and carpets, technology has changed their vocation.”

At the day-long event, 8th grade students from Thomson Middle School and Levey Middle School, and 11th and 12th grade students from University High School Academy, Southfield Regional Academic Campus, and Southfield High School for the Arts and Technology will visit during the morning and afternoon.

“We’re hoping students will bring their parents back so they can show them the options and keep them informed of possible future career tracks, says Rochelle Freeman, business and economic development director for the City of Southfield.
“Unfortunately, Southfield has a slightly higher unemployment rate than the rest of Oakland County. There are people here who need options to get back into the workforce. This is a great chance to explore future careers and find out what their aptitude might be. The outstanding staff from Oakland County Michigan Works will be on hand to help people find out about what is available to them with regard to career assistance, too.”

Informational booths from Oakland County Michigan Works Southfield, Southfield Public Library, Easter Seals, Jewish Vocational Center, U of D Cybersecurity and others will round out the event.


Southfield Build Your Future: Skilled Trades public event takes place on Thursday, February 14, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the Southfield Pavilion, 26000 Evergreen Road.

Read more articles by Claire Charlton.

Fascination drives Claire Charlton to write features and profiles. Always interested in people and their stories, Claire is dedicated to the art of interviewing. A freelancer for a dozen years, Claire writes about health, fitness, business and fun. When she’s not writing, drinking coffee or hanging with her family, Claire runs endurance events, practices yoga, and volunteers with lots of nonprofits.
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