Michigan House of Representatives Committee on Workforce, Trades and Talent invited Southeast Michigan Construction Academy (SEMCA) Director of Education, Deanna Morley, along with the heads of education from two other ABC Chapters in Michigan to give testimony on workforce development in the trades in Lansing today. The three ladies spoke and answered questions about the challenges and opportunities for the future of skilled trades and how Michigan can assist in the trade’s development.
“It seems like every day there is an article, news segment, or social media post lamenting about the need for skilled labor to meet the growing demand in the construction industry,” said Morley. “At SEMCA we have been providing a solution to this problem for over 30 years. Each year, SEMCA produces a pipeline of qualified tradespeople taught by masters in their craft for the jobs available in the workplace. SEMCA is dedicated to providing students with a safe construction education to prepare them for the workplace. I am proud of what we have accomplished this year given the unprecedented global pandemic.”
Currently, SEMCA offers classes in electrical, carpentry, and HVAC at 4 locations: Madison Heights, Monroe, Adrian, and Lapeer. These campuses educate nearly 500 students with the electrical program being one of the largest in the state of Michigan.
“Something we are proud of is that SEMCA is providing a career path,” said Morley. “Once a student completes the SEMCA program, they may take a state licensing exam, become a project manager, estimator, or owner of a construction company. At SEMCA, students can choose their own career in construction destiny. The opportunities are vast in this industry and our employment rate typically hovers around 95% of our students.”
What makes SEMCA appealing for both students and employers is the school offers a registered apprenticeship with the Department of Labor, is a State of Michigan approved apprenticeship provider, has craft training opportunities, and is accredited with NCCER. SEMCA’s impact does not stop at skilled trades education at one of our four facilities. Rather, the school is committed to promoting construction education throughout the Southeast Michigan community. This is especially critical as we work to recruit and retain non-traditional apprentice populations.
“SEMCA strives to reduce traditional barriers to entry and has adopted the mindset that anyone with an interest in a construction career can enroll in the program,” said Morley. “There is no application fee, entrance exam, grade requirement, or drug test. This has emphasized the need for strong student services to best support all students to reduce barriers to learning and ensure economic success.”