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Throughout the week of April 3-6, students from the current class of “Access for All,” a building and construction trades apprenticeship readiness program and an initiative of the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund (DRWF), will work together with the Urban Neighborhood Initiative (UNI), the Southwest Business District Association and volunteers from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324 to transform four parcels of vacant property in Springwells Village, in Southwest Detroit.

With the goal of creating “usable space,” one parcel will be prepared to become an urban garden, two others will be readied to become pocket parks and the fourth will involve clean-up of non-structural blight. The clean-up effort will take place at the I-75 freeway entrance to Springwells Village.

The Detroit Regional Workforce Fund (DRWF) connects unemployed and underemployed Detroiters with the training required to develop a “career pathway” in the skilled trades.  As the term “career pathway” implies, the training and learning opportunities offered through Access for All lead not just to jobs, but to careers in fields like operating engineer, iron worker, pipefitter and bricklayer, where the work meets the workforce needs of employers and the larger community.

The success of this program is attributable to the fact that it is based on a true collaborative effort where, with the support of many organizations, skilled workers reach out to share their knowledge and expertise with Access for All students who are committed to bettering themselves and their communities.

Access for All features nine weeks of classroom training and actual field work. The week-long hands-on portion of the program gives students the opportunity to work at an actual construction site, dealing with difficult weather conditions, navigating around various pieces of large equipment and interacting with other project volunteers as well as with the residents in areas where the construction is occurring.

Starting Monday, students will learn to work with hand tools and heavy equipment at all four work sites and reinforce the essential skills that Access for All students learn in the classroom.

Michigan CAT and Kaltz Excavating are donating heavy equipment to the Springwells Village project, and Michigan Laborers’ Training and Apprenticeship Institute and Laborers’ Local 1191 are donating personnel and hand tools.

Along with workers from various skilled trades, including the operating engineers from Local 324, neighbors from the Southwest Detroit community where the sites are located have volunteered to work alongside the Access for All students as well.

More than 91% of Access for All graduates find employment, and more than 67% successfully enter into a two to five year construction apprenticeship programs where they earn while they learn their craft.  The next nine-week session will begin on April 17, 2017.  In addition to being a Detroit resident, an eligible applicant must be at least 18-years-old and possess a valid Michigan driver’s license.  Anyone interested in applying for the new April 17 class should apply now.

To learning more about how to apply to Access for All, visit http://accessforalldetroit.com or call 313.736.5290.


Access for All is funded by the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund (DRWF). The DRWF is a public-private workforce funders’ collaborative and is housed at United Way for Southeastern Michigan, which is also one of its investors and serves as the fiscal agent.

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