State, education and business stakeholders applaud students entering workforce, hope to help encourage young talent to consider the vast pipeline of opportunities
Brian Wing, LiUNA apprentice, addresses students during Going PRO in Michigan Signing Week event at Oakland Schools Technical Campus - Northeast.
Lansing, Mich. – The inaugural Going PRO in Michigan Signing Week events on May 7 and May 10 will recognize students from career centers in Oakland and Saginaw counties and honor their dedication to pursue one of the many high-wage, high-demand apprenticeships or Professional Trades opportunities available statewide.
Gov. Whitmer has declared May 6-10 as Going PRO in Michigan Signing Week, and in similar style to “National Signing Day” events for high school student-athletes who commit to a collegiate sport, the Talent and Economic Development (Ted) Department of Michigan is thrilled to celebrate high school students who have committed to filling Professional Trades jobs right here in Michigan.
“This is an exciting time for these students as they embark on meaningful careers that will help us build vibrant communities and position Michigan as a home for growth and opportunity,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “As these students work toward a successful career in the trades, it’s our job to make sure they are afforded equal opportunities to be prosperous in this great state. Preparing our students for the 21st-century careers of tomorrow is a priority. By increasing postsecondary educational attainment to 60% by 2030, we accomplish just that.”
During Michigan Signing Day events, students will be joined by their peers, family and influencers as they sign a “letter of intent” with their employer or union and receive a certificate to proclaim “I am Going PRO in Michigan” as a way to elevate and recognize their commitment to an apprenticeship or full-time employment.
“We need our Great Lakes State to have a competitive economy to further move us forward and position ourselves as an innovative leader in this country,” said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II. “Our youth are our future and we need to invest, encourage and mentor them – right now – so they can fill the jobs we need in order to thrive.”
With more than 545,000 open Professional Trades jobs in Michigan through the year 2026, the state needs to remove barriers and make way for the young talent that choose to get a jump-start on their career, but also to help guide those who are unsure of their educational and career paths.
“Just as Signing Day is a special moment in a student’s athletic career, we want to create the same level of excitement for students who choose to enter the workforce in a Professional Trade after high school graduation,” said Stephanie Beckhorn, acting director of Ted. “Apprenticeships and Professional Trades jobs are viable options, and as state officials, educators and business leaders we need to celebrate these students on their journey to finding the rewarding career that best fits them – and our state.”
The demand for highly trained workers continues to increase in Michigan, and experts anticipate the current shortage of Professional Trades workers will continue well into the next decade.
“It’s important we encourage Michigan’s young people to explore the high-demand, high-wage Professional Trades careers available across the state,” said state Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “By empowering the next generation of talent entering the workforce, we can help close the skills gap, while promoting Going PRO career opportunities for students looking for a vibrant lifestyle.”
Career and technical education is a proven educational pathway to prepare students for future success. While most Professional Trades careers do not require a four-year degree, all pathways require some form of advanced skills training.
“Being able to participate in this apprenticeship program was a great first step to starting my career in the trades. I really enjoyed my time in the LiUNA apprenticeship program and I’m excited to continue my career in the Professional Trades,” said Brian Wing, Laborers’ International Union of North America’s apprenticeship program alumni.
Schools and technical education centers are encouraged to participate in their own Signing Day events throughout the week in hopes of generating awareness among parents, educators and students about fulfilling and rewarding careers in Professional Trades.
Additional information about Going PRO in Michigan Signing Week and Professional Trades careers can be found at Going-PRO.com/signingweek.
A list of the students participating in Signing Day can be found here.
The Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan (Ted) allows the state to leverage its ability to build talent with in-demand skills while helping state businesses grow and thrive. Joining job creation and economic development efforts under one umbrella, Ted consists of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Michigan State Housing Development Authority, Michigan Strategic Fund, Talent Investment Agency and Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority.
Learn more about Ted at www.michigan.gov/Ted.