Promoting skilled trades training and opportunities
As my wife and I began our journey starting a family this past year, I think about the future for our daughter. It is every parent’s goal to give his or her children the best opportunity to succeed and live a prosperous life.
Though it is years away, I find myself thinking about setting aside savings for my daughter’s college fund. There is no doubt that a college degree can be a springboard for a successful career, but it is important to note that college is not the end all be all for a life of fulfilling work.
Obtaining a secondary degree is not for everyone. In the United States and in Michigan, the middle class is open to anyone who works hard. The middle class was built in this country by the City of Detroit, where men and women worked in industry without a degree from a university. These men and women were able to buy homes and cars, and provide college funds for their own children. This was, and still is, the American Dream… and it was all accomplished without a college degree.
Young adults today deserve the same opportunities, which can be found within skilled trades industries. As technology and industry grow together, skilled trades are becoming more important and relevant. Skilled trades offer an excellent, feasible alternative to earning a two or four-year college degree.
In Lansing, my colleagues and I work hard to remove burdensome regulations, taxes and bureaucracy to allow Michigan’s economy to grow and businesses to create jobs. Since the lost decade, we have been successful in creating a climate that has allowed for the creation of 450,000 private sector jobs. Many of these jobs are in skilled trades. With this growing industry, we must make available training programs to prepare young people to enter this growing workforce. Which is why we are working with public schools and private businesses throughout the county to create a partnership between the two entities to encourage the creation of a farm system which will allow students to enter the workforce directly.
This year’s budget as recommended from the House puts an emphasis on skilled trades training for our students, and I, along with my colleagues, supported legislation that would expand graduation requirements to include options in skilled trades opportunities and computer coding.
There are already programs being implemented that promote skilled trades training in Oakland County. I had the honor of attending the signing day for students participating in the Pathways to Apprenticeship Program. Oakland Schools, Construction Craft Laborers LiUNA 1076 and the Michigan Laborers’ Training Apprenticeship Institute have established this collaborative partnership which will provide for a summer apprenticeship training opportunity for juniors and seniors in the Oakland Schools Construction Technology program, and even allow students to earn certification. This is the type of partnership we should be supporting throughout our county and state in order to provide the best options to our students.
Like many of you, I want to make sure that the opportunities for my daughter and my growing family are not limited in any way. These programs will provide an opportunity for our young people to find jobs and live a desirable quality of life, and help keep the American Dream alive for everyone for decades to come.
State Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township, represents the 39th District of the Michigan House of Representatives. He can be contacted via phone at 517-373-1799 or email KlintKesto@house.mi.gov.