Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti and a host of other business and community leaders recently unveiled a newly improved Randolph Career Technical Education Center that will serve hundreds more of youths and adults seeking skilled trades training and career opportunities.

After major classroom renovations, the return of electrical training courses, and new skilled trades training programs for adults on the way, Randolph has been transformed from an outdated vocational high school to a leading, state-of-the-art skilled trades training facility. The improvements are part of a partnership between DPSCD, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC), the City of Detroit and Mayor Mike Duggan’s Workforce Development Board that has raised $10 million in funding and in-kind contributions from an array of supporters for improvements to Randolph.

“This institution has a proud history of preparing Detroit residents for good-paying careers in the skilled trades,” said Mayor Duggan. “With the construction boom in our city likely to last for many years, we need to train every Detroiter we can so they can participate in the city’s comeback. Thanks to Dr. Vitti’s leadership and the support of our many sponsors, hundreds more Detroiters every year will have that chance.”

Courses offered at Randolph include carpentry, masonry, plumbing & pipefitting, HVAC, computer-aided design (CAD), heavy equipment simulation, and entrepreneurship. Thanks to the upgrades to the school, the popular electrical course will return, as well, after a three-year absence. Jobs in these trades are currently in high demand, with new construction projects of all sizes breaking ground across the city.

Students at Randolph will gain hands-on experience for careers where entry-level positions range from $13-$22/hour. Experienced journeyman can grow to earn over $30/hour. With support from industry partners, students will have the opportunity to learn from local unions, construction contractors, with the potential for paid internships while in school and apprenticeship programs upon graduation.

At its height, Randolph had an average enrollment of more than 600 in its programs at any given time. After several years of disinvestment, however, that number has dwindled to about 150.

With the improvements unveiled today, DPSCD is embarking on a push to increase enrollment to 900 students over the three years of the project. DESC will also push to enroll 900 adults in the new adult training programs over the next three years.

“This partnership and others like it create an undeniable return on investment for the school district, city, and the next generation of students and citizens,” said DPSCD Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti. “Our students must be college and career ready and this program allows that commitment to become a reality. The investment by the Mayor and our business partners is one we hope to replicate across DPSCD.”

Randolph will serve Detroit students from across the city who will attend for a half day, five days per week. In afternoon and the evenings, the center will provide skilled trades training programs for adult Detroit residents.

Current high school students entering grades 10-12 are eligible to enroll in the half-day program in the morning or afternoon. Transportation from home high schools is available. Those interested in enrolling should go to http://www.RandolphCareerTech.com and submit an online interest form.

Interested students and their families are encouraged to attend one of two Open House events to tour the facility and view classroom updates. The Open Houses will be held at Randolph Career Tech at 17101 Hubbell on Wednesday, August 30th from 1-7pm and Wednesday, September 6th from 3-7pm.

Community-wide partnership

DTE Energy took the lead on project management and Barton Malow led construction management, with Gensler providing design services, all as in-kind contributions to the school. Bedrock also made technology donations and in-kind building improvements. Other community partners who contributed to the project on an in-kind basis include Wayne RESA and the Black Caucus Foundation of Michigan.

“There are huge opportunities for good-paying jobs in skilled trades at DTE and across the city. Those jobs are the core of our business and that’s why so many companies jumped at the chance to help with the revitalization of Randolph,” said Dave Meador, vice chairman and chief administrative officer at DTE Energy and co-chair of the Mayor’s Workforce Development Board. “We are celebrating Randolph today, but this project is just the beginning; our work is not done. Randolph will serve as the model to scale these efforts across the district’s CTE schools.”

The organizations worked closely with unions including Michigan Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Union Local 2, Pipefitters Local 636, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 58, MI Regional Council of Carpenters & Millwrights Local 687, Sheetmetal Workers Local 80, Mechanical Contractors Association Detroit, Plumbers Local 98, Operating Engineers Local 324, Laborers’ Union Local 1191, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 214, and the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO to ensure CTE programs and classroom updates were in line with industry standards.

Improvements were funded by contributions from DTE Energy, the Wilson Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, Ford, UAW-Ford, the Detroit Pistons Foundation, Walbridge and Barton Malow. This investment will directly impact the skilled trades workforce by providing training opportunities for jobs that are in high demand in the City of Detroit.

“This important project could never have happened without the support of these partners,” said Mayor Duggan.

Phase I Upgrades

Phase I of the Randolph renovation included new floors, lighting, paint and upgrades to common areas and the CTE classrooms to bring them up to industry standards. Other funds were used to enhance current CTE course curriculum, purchase new training and safety equipment, computers, furniture and a dust collector for the building, a much needed system to keep students safe. Phases II and III of the project will be completed over the next two years. Other improvements included:

• Refreshed and reorganized CTE classrooms

• New Electrical Classroom

• New Heavy Machinery Simulation Lab

• New learning lab for contextualized reading & math

• New materials and equipment for each course

• Updated commons spaces and CTE Hallway (new paint, flooring, lighting)

• Updated meeting rooms and multi-purpose room

• Roof repair

• Sidewalk Repair and Parking Lot restripe / resurfacing

• Cleared trees, old structures from grounds

• Cleared and paved outdoor work yard

The work done over the summer is just phase I of the project. Phases II and III will add new CTE programs, continue building improvements and upgrade additional equipment over the next two years.

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