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Friday, 18 September 2020 19:56

Detroit Residents Get Fast Track to Michigan Central Station

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The Fast Track Job Program was launched Sept. 15 at Michigan Central Station by Ford Motor Company, Christman|Brinker, Detroit at Work, Workforce Development Institute, Barton Malow, SkillSmart and the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council.

The work experience project is a joint initiative aimed at providing a pathway from existing training and on-boarding programs to skilled city workers for future construction projects.

 

The first cohort of 25 individuals will get paid hands-on training and supervision in various building trades, including masonry, carpentry, electrical, painting and iron work. Those trades are all involved in Ford’s restoration of Michigan Central Station, purchased by the automaker in 2018 as the centerpiece of a new mobility innovation district in Corktown.

 

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime to work on the most high-profile project in Detroit,” said Richard Bardelli, Ford’s construction manager at Michigan Central Station. “When our cohort members learned they would be working on the train station their eyes lit up, smiles everywhere. One day they will look back and say this is where my career started.”

 

The restoration of Michigan Central Station is now in the second of three phases of construction. This is the longest and most labor-intensive part of the project and involves fixing the steel structure, installing new roofing and repairing more than eight acres of masonry.

 

The 25 men and women in the Fast Track program will join 140 workers already onsite. This number is expected to grow to some 300 workers by year’s end, many of them masons, a trade that is currently in short supply in the City of Detroit.

 

For this initial group, the program sourced applicants from a variety of existing construction awareness programs including, Detroit Future Workforce (DWF), Randolph CTE/Adult Ed, Access for All and individual trades programs.

 

Among the 25 participants is Juane Bullock, who learnt about Fast Track through Access for All.

 

“The train station is really amazing, I can’t stop staring at the architecture. I can’t wait to get started,” said Bullock. “I feel like it’s an opportunity that’s going to change my life because I’m going to learn so much from so many different people. There are a lot of trades involved. I’m just a sponge right now, I’m going to soak it all up.”  


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