Record Number of Students Start Fall 2022 Semester at SEMCA

The fall 2022 semester kicked off on August 29 with more than 550 students in attendance.

The new school year is underway at the Southeast Michigan Construction Academy and with more than 200 new students starting their journey in electrical, carpentry, or welding, it’s sure to be a good year.

On the first night of classes, SEMCA president Keith Ledbetter headed traffic control to get students parked and in class on time—directing over 30 cars to adjoining lots near SEMCA’s main campus in the pouring rain.

“I don’t even care that it’s pouring and that I’m soaked, it’s an incredible feeling seeing so many people coming to trade school. These men and women chose a career-ready education program that costs less and has better job security than a college degree,” Ledbetter said. “I’ve never seen these classrooms as packed as they are tonight.”

SEMCA instructor Kevin Herron was shocked at the number of third year electrical students he had in his class. Herron even mentioned in his three years as a SEMCA instructor, he’s never started the year with a full room.

SEMCA students were greeted at the front door by director of education Marissa Downs and education services coordinator Kaylee Cohen. The two helped check students in, confirm their trade, and direct them to their classrooms.

One of those students on Monday night was first year electrical student Macauley Cooper, who has been ready for the first day of school since his tour of the school in late June.

“I am new to the electrical field, but I know I’ll learn so much over the next four years here as an apprentice, which I will bring to my work at MC Chesney Electric,” Cooper said.

In total, 581 students enrolled for the fall semester at SEMCA with 223 of them being first year students. The school had a 24% increase of new students compared to fall 2021.

“We’ve seen a steady increase year-to-year in enrollment, and I credit that to the increase of trade school exposure in high school and the push for young adults wanting a good-paying career without the debt,” said VP of education Deanna Morley. “Our mission is to build up that workforce; therefore, our programs are centered around having our students work in their field during the day so when they come to school at night, we’re building on their skills to get them back in the field at a higher skill level.”

SEMCA winter enrollment will open in October. For ABC member companies interested in sending employees to train in welding, electrical, or heavy contruction, the online application and registration will be available on

Custom Welding Curriculum
Lee Industrial Contracting needed a custom welding class to enhance their workforce and help them attain new skills. A call was made to SEMCA, and the staff got started developing a curriculum. The goal was to provide 14 pipefitters at Lee with a course that trained them in stick welding.

“This was a great opportunity to work closely with an ABC member company,” said Marissa Downs, director of education at SEMCA. “We were happy to help Lee Industrial enhance their employees’ skillset.”

The course had a two-and-a-half-month turnaround from the initial phone call to Lee employees starting class. Downs noted that a big part of the fast turnaround was due to the school already having the tools needed for the course. 

SEMCA remains committed to building up and training the workforce. If there is a training program that we don’t currently offer, please reach out to Marissa Downs ( to discuss the possibilities to develop a curriculum that will benefit your employees and business.