Empowering Michigan Women: New Skills and Pay Initiatives Unveiled

In the heart of Michigan, a movement is underway that’s not just about breaking the glass ceiling but reshaping the entire building. The Michigan Women’s Commission, in partnership with Consumers Energy, is pioneering a path to empowerment through high-wage, skilled trades for women. This isn’t just about jobs; it’s about creating legacies of skilled, confident women who will lead and inspire generations.

A Personal Journey
Imagine you’re at a crossroads in your career. You have ambition, the drive to succeed, and a desire to earn more—not just to thrive but to provide for your family and secure your future. This is where the journey begins, with initiatives like the roundtable discussion hosted by the Michigan Women’s Commission and Consumers Energy, spotlighting not only the opportunities but the supportive path forward through registered apprenticeship programs.

Breaking Down Barriers
For too long, skilled trades have been viewed through a gendered lens, often perceived as the domain of men. This outdated notion is being dismantled as we speak. Susan Corbin, director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, emphasized at the recent roundtable that, “In order to address the gender wage gap and ensure equitable access to economic prosperity, we are breaking down barriers and creating pathways for women to enter high-wage jobs across all sectors.”  The roundtable event showcased Consumers Energy’s Registered Apprenticeship training programs as a key initiative to empower more women in skilled trades and pave the way for lucrative careers. This initiative is about rewriting the narrative, proving that these high-paying, skilled positions are not only attainable but are also welcoming and rewarding for women.

The Role of Apprenticeships
Apprenticeships are more than just training; they are a golden ticket to economic prosperity. With a promise of over $70,000 in median annual earnings upon completion, they represent a viable and lucrative career path. As one of the top states for registered apprenticeships, Michigan’s programs offer hands-on experience and the chance to earn while you learn, reducing the financial burden often associated with advancing education and skills.

Community and Support
“Behind every successful woman in these programs is a network of peers, mentors, and leaders cheering her on.” said Kendra Quinlan, co-founder of the Michigan Apprenticeship Network. During the roundtable, she underscored the importance of collaboration among industry, government, and educational institutions. “This support system ensures that once you step into this world, you are not alone—help is always at hand, and success is a shared goal.” she said.

As the landscape of skilled trades in Michigan evolves, so do the opportunities for women seeking high-wage, fulfilling careers. Curious about where to begin? Consider exploring the resources available at Michigan.gov/Apprenticeship. This is your opportunity to engage with a community that’s not just filling jobs, but redefining success in skilled trades for women.

The collaboration between the Michigan Women’s Commission and Consumers Energy is more than just a doorway to new opportunities—it’s a gateway to broader horizons for women across the state. Your participation in these initiatives not only enhances your own career prospects but also enriches the diversity and strength of our workforce. Take a moment to consider this path: it’s not just about advancing your own goals but also about forging a path toward a more inclusive and prosperous Michigan. Together, let’s envision and build a future where every woman’s potential is realized.

12 High Paying Jobs for 2024 – No Degree Required!

The labor market in 2024 is set to see a significant demand for skilled trade jobs, a vital sector in the US economy. These jobs offer lucrative pay, engaging work environments, and are essential in various industries. Here’s a list of 12 high-demand, high-paying trade jobs:

1. Ultrasonographer ($131,161/year): With a 10% job growth rate, they perform diagnostic medical imaging.

2. Respiratory Therapist ($104,437/year): Essential in healthcare with a 13% growth rate, they assist patients with breathing issues.

3.  Dental Hygienist ($99,013/year): A 7% growth rate job focusing on oral health.

4.  Construction Manager ($88,319/year): With a 5% growth rate, they oversee construction projects.

5.  Aircraft Mechanic ($82,476/year): Ensuring aircraft safety, with a 4% job growth.

6.  Cable Technician ($70,714/year): A 6% growth rate in this tech-based role.

7.  Industrial Mechanic ($69,637/year): They maintain and repair industrial machinery, with a 13% growth rate.

8.  Solar Installer ($69,422/year): A rapidly growing field at 22%, focusing on renewable energy.

9.  Real Estate Appraiser ($64,075/year): Valuing properties with a 5% growth rate.

10. Electrician ($62,739/year): Essential for electrical systems with a 6% growth rate.

11.  Licensed Practical Nurse ($59,125/year): A vital healthcare role, growing at 5%.

12.  Wind Turbine Technician ($58,005/year): A booming field with a 45% growth rate, focusing on sustainable energy.

a male hand holds a pipe wrench up into the sky

These trades, requiring varying levels of vocational training or specialized schooling, are not just financially rewarding but are crucial for the economy’s health. Their roles are more than just jobs; they’re careers that shape the very infrastructure and well-being of society. As technology and industries evolve, these trades are at the forefront, ensuring efficiency, safety, and innovation. Emphasizing these trades’ importance and encouraging more people to enter these fields is essential to bridge the impending trade gap in the US labor force.

The evolving job market is increasingly valuing trades and associate degrees, marking a shift in what constitutes the ‘smart kids’ club. A 2023 survey by Intelligent.com reveals that nearly half of US companies plan to eliminate bachelor’s degree requirements in 2024, a trend that started in 2023. This change is driven by a desire to create more diverse workforces and the recognition that experience often outweighs formal education. Employers are now focusing on practical skills, with 80% prioritizing experience over education. Additionally, alternative educational paths like certificate programs and apprenticeships are gaining value, reflecting a broader understanding of skill acquisition beyond traditional four-year degrees. This trend underscores the growing importance of practical, hands-on skills in the modern labor market.

The Michigan Apprenticeship Program is a dynamic pathway combining practical working experience with learning, beneficial for both employers and apprentices. It’s a no-cost service provided by the State of Michigan, designed to simplify the process of registered apprenticeship. The program aims to build a skilled workforce by connecting Michigan employers with job seekers, offering crucial support and resources to both parties.

Registered Apprenticeship in Michigan, supported by the Department of Labor/Office of Apprenticeship, allows employers to create customized skilled trades training programs. This is particularly important in industries experiencing a significant gap between job openings and skilled workers. The program is recognized as a valuable training model by the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. It involves on-the-job training and classroom instruction under the supervision of experienced industry professionals, serving as mentors. This approach not only benefits workers by providing job-related, classroom-based learning with paid on-the-job training in high-skill, high-wage, in-demand industry occupations, but it also helps employers by creating a pipeline of professional workers through work-based learning.

The program includes seven core components: Industry Led, Paid Job, Structured On-the-Job Learning/Mentorship, Supplemental Education, Diversity, Quality & Safety, and Credential. Each Registered Apprenticeship program is customized to meet specific employer needs, and upon completion, participants receive a nationally-recognized industry credential.

This approach is proving to be an effective strategy for recruiting, training, and retaining employees, perfect for filling the talent pipeline with highly skilled, diverse, and productive workers. It demonstrates the state’s commitment to developing a skilled workforce that meets the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s industries.

Meet Four Battle Creek Employers Who Are Training Tomorrow’s Workforce

apprentice learnings from teacher wearing yellow vest

Four Battle Creek employers were celebrated for pioneering in Registered Apprenticeship Programs. Recognized at Kellogg Community College, these firms exemplify effective workforce training, aligning with Michigan’s strategy to bolster the local talent pipeline and support skilled labor development. This initiative is part of a broader effort to upskill Michigan’s workforce.

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