Photo of Young Professional JustinIn Spring 2019, Justin was wrapping up his senior year in high school and hadn’t decided what he would do after graduation. His dad, a welder, had encouraged him to pursue a career in the trades. Justin liked the idea but needed assistance in putting a plan together. His high school hosted a ‘College and Career’ event where he heard Michi-gan Works! Young Professionals make a presentation. Afterward, he decided to enroll in the program to help him decide on a career pathway and secure employment.

To help him start exploring careers in the trades, in Fall 2019 Justin enrolled in the Michigan Apprenticeship Program Plus (MAP+) at Macomb Community College. MAP+, known as an industrial-readiness pre-apprenticeship, exposed Justin to a wide variety of career pathways in both skilled trades and advanced manufacturing. The one-semester certificate program provided Justin with training on industrial safety, shop math, and blueprint reading. The skills he learned in MAP+ could help him secure employment or help him succeed in more advanced training depending on what he decided to do next.

Drawing from what he had learned in MAP+, and with the help of the Young Professionals career planner, Justin confirmed in early 2020 that he was interested in construction trades and wanted additional training. He was originally thinking of attending a carpentry training program later in the year, but when Justin found out that the school was conducting the training remotely due to the pandemic, he decided to move in another direction. He wanted to find a program where he could receive hands-on training.

Justin and his career planner met with a Young Professionals Placement Specialist who shared that there was an upcoming Bricklayers pre-apprenticeship opportunity. The training met all of Justin’s requirements: skilled trade, working in construction, with hands-on learning available at the training center. In August 2020 Justin made an application to the program, and during the Fall Justin worked on providing Detroit Metropolitan Joint Apprenticeship with additional required documents, two letters of recommendation, and completing a physical. With the application process complete, Justin was invited for an interview in January 2021. Happily, he was immediately accepted into the program!

Justin began his full-time, 12- week pre-apprenticeship in February during which Young Professionals provided him a transportation stipend and work experience wages while he worked hard to learn new occupational skills. The initial skill set that Justin acquired during the pre-apprenticeship was restoration work on commercial buildings. Before the 12 weeks were completed, the training center invited a handful of employers to come interview candidates for employment. Justin was able to present a customized resume that he had created with the help of the Young Professionals and had access to mock interviewing with his career planner prior to meeting with them. Jus-tin was made an offer of employment that day with Leidl & Hart Mason Contractors. He was hired in at $21.60/hr with full benefits. His current worksite is at the new Wayne County Jail and Courthouse Complex which stands prominently at I-75 and Warren Avenue downtown. He’ll be working at this site for another year. Justin was excited to share that he will be exposed to a variety of skilled trades during the next year that will help him grow his knowledge exponentially as they work together to complete the project.

Justin was also accepted into the company’s apprenticeship program where he will work under the mentorship of a journeyman for the next four years learning advanced masonry skills. As Justin’s skill set increases, so, too, will his wages. Justin’s enthusiasm for the work is palpable. He shared that he could see himself as an architect designing commercial buildings someday. Young Professionals thinks the sky is the limit for Justin and believes he will do it!