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Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan (Photo: Daniel Mears, The Detroit News)

Detroit — The city’s west side will soon be home to a $30 million facility that will provide free skilled trades training for up to 1,500 students per year — and they’ll earn wages and benefits while they learn, officials announced Monday.

The Michigan Statewide Carpenters and Millwrights Joint Apprenticeship and Training Fund joined with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan at an afternoon news conference to unveil plans for the 120,000 square foot training center that’s expected to break ground early next year.

The center will be constructed on a seven-acre parcel of city-owned land near Oakland Boulevard at the site of the former Tappan School. The center is expected to be completed by mid-2021, officials said.

Chemical Bank, which recently announced plans for a new headquarters in Detroit, will work with the union to finance the construction project, officials said.

“This incredible new facility, located right at Elmhurst and Tuxedo, will be where every Detroiter who wants to help rebuild our city by becoming a carpenter or millwright will be trained,” Duggan said in a released statement. “I can’t thank our partners at the Carpenters and Millwrights enough for their continued commitment to providing training and career opportunities to Detroit residents.”

Officials said the move will consolidate the carpenters administrative and training operations, which currently are spread across Warren, Ferndale, Livonia and the Renaissance Center, under one roof.

The Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights and its contractor partners fund all aspects of the apprenticeship program, including construction of the new center.

“Through our commitment to create Detroit jobs and our new training center, Michigan’s carpenters and millwrights union, together with our contractor partners, will help thousands of Detroit residents get access to state-of-the-art training for good careers in the skilled trades and get paid while they learn,” said Mike Jackson, the regional council’s executive secretary.

Two years ago, the council of carpenters became one of the first skilled trades unions to sign on to the Mayor’s Skilled Trades Employment Program.

The group, the state’s largest skilled trades union, committed at that time to tripling the number of city residents in its membership over the next decade. During that time, the union has committed to growing its city-based membership from 283 to 849, officials said.

To meet the goal, the regional council will ensure that 25 percent of all first-year carpenter apprentices are Detroiters.

Students of the new facility will train in an apprenticeship program designed and taught by the carpenters and millwrights union, which currently has more than 14,000 members across the state.

Enrollment is free and participants also will earn wages, healthcare and pension benefits.

Skilled trades professionals account for more than 500,000 jobs in Michigan and professionals anticipate that an existing worker shortage in the fields will continue into the next decade.

“There’s incredible demand for skilled workers throughout our state, especially here in Detroit, and local contractors want to hire skilled local workers,” said Donna Pardonnet, executive director of Architectural and Construction Trades Michigan and chair of the Training Fund. “This new training center is good for business and the economy. We’re proud to partner with the union to build this facility.”

Original article appeared on The Detroit News.

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