Construction boom means limitless career opportunities in Detroit
Detroit is experiencing a construction boom that the city hasn't seen in decades, with billions of dollars earmarked for projects that include Bedrock’s mixed-use development at the former Hudson's site, Ford Motor Co.'s revitalization of the Michigan Central Station and the long-anticipated construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge.
With these developments come jobs — high-paying skilled-trades careers that include everything from carpentry and cement finishing to ironwork, plumbing, electrical and more.
"There are limitless opportunities right now in development and construction, and job seekers don't want to miss out on them," said Dannis Mitchell, client and community engagement manager with Barton Malow Company, the general contractor for several major initiatives including the Hudson's site development, a 1.4 million-square-foot mixed-use project from Bedrock, the real estate firm behind some Detroit’s most ambitious projects. "This is an exciting time for the city, and we want to expose residents to the opportunities that exist with these careers."
On Nov. 14, Bedrock , Barton Malow Company and Turner Construction will host an informational workforce expo at Cobo Center that showcases the skilled trades throughout the construction industry. The event, “READY. SET. BUILD!” will provide information about joining the skilled trades, offering participants a chance to meet union apprenticeship school directors and interact with contractors.
“Some people may come to this event and walk out with a job," Mitchell said. "For some jobs, they can start work within the next few days. For others, there is a longer timeline, and that's why we encourage them to start the process early, so they know the next steps and are ready to begin an apprenticeship program."
Apprenticeships generally last two to five years and are paid with on-the-job-training that starts between $12-15 an hour. Upon graduation with a journeyman license, tradespeople make at least $28-36 an hour plus healthcare and retirement benefits.
At 912 feet, the Hudson’s development project will become the city’s tallest building. It’s one of approximately 25 different construction projects scheduled for downtown Detroit over the next five to 10 years. And as construction continues, developers expect development will spread out even further beyond downtown.
“These construction projects will lead to other construction projects — schools, transportation, health facilities and all of the other facets that make up a community," said Jeff Baxa, senior vice president manager with Barton Malow Company. “There is tremendous opportunity here.”
Barton Malow is serving as the general contractor for Bedrock on Wayne County Criminal Justice Center, a four-building complex expected to be completed in 2022 in addition to the Hudson’s Site Development. Turner Construction is serving as the general contractor for the Monroe Blocks project, a blend of public space, office, retail and residential development in the city's central business district. All three projects have an approximate four- to six-year timeline. Construction for many of the projects will begin as early as January or February 2019, and the Hudson’s Site project broke ground in December 2017.
Workforce development initiatives like the "READY. SET. BUILD!" expo help to create a pipeline for talent in the construction trades, giving Detroit residents the opportunity to build a great career in the city while making a meaningful impact on the construction momentum happening downtown.
For anyone with a serious interest in the skilled trades, there is every reason to attend the Nov. 14 event. Transportation from five Detroit neighborhoods is available to Cobo throughout the day, and representatives are available to answer questions about finishing high school or a GED and getting assistance from housing and other government assistance programs.
“We’ve organized the event into three components: Those individuals who are READY, but might need support services; Those who are SET, but might need more exposure to certain careers; And those who are ready to BUILD — they know that they want a career in the skilled trades, but they might want to see hands-on demonstrations and meet the contractors,” Mitchell said.
Bedrock has long been committed to the city’s skilled trades workforce. Along with other community stakeholders, Bedrock invested in both Breithaupt and the Randolph career and technical schools, which are both flagships for helping to develop a talent pipeline to skilled trades and other opportunities in Detroit..
The “READY. SET. BUILD!” event is just another way the company, in partnership with Barton Malow Copany and Turner Construction, is committed to building the city’s future construction and skilled trades workforce.
Registration is available online at readysetbuildexpo.com, but walk-ins are also welcome. For more information, or to learn about transportation options, visit the website or attend the event between 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Nov. 14 at Cobo Center in Detroit.