WAYLAND, Mich. - A new training center for carpenters and millwrights is officially open.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Sen. Debbie Stabenow attended the ribbon cutting aof the new state-of-the-art 67,000-square foot facility located at 500 Reno Dr on Monday, April 29.

The Michigan Statewide Carpenters and Millwrights Skilled Training Center is part of a statewide effort to train and educate workers to fill thousands of job openings in Michigan’s high-demand skilled trades industry. 

“The Skilled Training Center in Wayland is the kind of state-of-the-art educational facility we need in Michigan that will prepare the next generation of skilled trades professionals,” Whitmer said at the grand opening. 

Highly trained skilled trades professionals are in high demand in Michigan, and experts anticipate the current shortage of such workers to continue well into the next decade. Skilled trades professionals such as carpenters and millwrights account for more than 500,000 jobs in Michigan. 

"Right now in Michigan too few of our people have skills beyond high school," Whitmer said. "This is the place where you can come and find your passion and leave with some money in the bank, zero debt, a guaranteed job and a great quality of life." 

Union contractors pay hourly rates for their apprentices to train at the center. The Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights is investing in Michigan's economy, Stabenow said. 

"[They're] putting [their] money where all of our mouths are about how important it is to provide great jobs and great wages to move our state forward in terms of skilled trades."

The center is open to the public and anyone can apply to become an apprentice carpenter or millwright. Applicants simply need a high school diploma or a GED. Apprentices do not pay tuition and get good wages, healthcare and pension benefits while they study and train. 

Apprentices at the Wayland training center will get hands-on experience and go through real-world simulations, using methods and tools that include some of the most advanced in the construction industry.

Every year, businesses need 15,000 workers to fill job openings in the skilled trades. Careers in skilled trades typically do not require a four-year-college degree and pay well above Michigan’s median income.

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