In June 2019, 1-800-HANSONS, in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County, Michigan, kick-started the first Talent Development Coalition (TDC) pilot project. Known as the Alliance for Construction Education, the “program creates a needed bridge that connects people interested in construction careers to apprentice programs and employers. At the same time, we are happy to assist in providing affordable housing for the community,” said 1-800-HANSONS CEO Steve Silvers.
The Talent Development Coalition is a program put forth by the Oakland University, as part of its Pontiac Initiative, and in collaboration with over 27 organizations from government, education, industry, and non-profit sectors. The TDC seeks to provide training and job opportunities for underemployed workers by using a $150,000 Marshall Plan for Talent Innovation Grant from the State of Michigan.
With the guidance and direction of Pastor Douglas Jones of the Greater Pontiac Community Coalition and Dr. David Strubler, a professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership at OU, the program was tasked to create various development programs in construction, advanced manufacturing, business and information technology, and health care. All of these are in high-demand across the state of Michigan as well as the rest of the country.
“The TDC is a transformational construct which combines leaders and stakeholders from across all sectors and backgrounds,” said Pontiac Mayor Deidre Waterman. “Coming together under the banner of our five-year long OU Pontiac Initiative, the TDC will create meaningful programs for our citizens, community, and our economy.”
Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner said that “the TDC has the potential to put a sizeable and positive ‘dent’ in the county’s workforce, community, and economic development efforts.”
The Talent Development Coalition (TDC) Pilot Project
Together with Flowers Institute and Oakland County Michigan Works!, Pontiac, Hansons, and Habitat are recruiting students interested in entering the construction trade. This includes all-expenses-paid pre-apprentice and apprentice programs starting September 23, 2019.
“Our job is to work with 1-800-HANSONS and other companies to recruit, retain, guide, coach and place the students,” said Carlton Jones of the Flowers Institute.
“We also provide them (the students) with an outstanding supervisor on the job who is a pro at working with beginners in the trades,” said Habitat’s CEO Tim Ruggles.
The TDC Project Structure
Pre-apprentices will be paid to work and learn with Habitat for Humanity for 30 hours per week and get a construction course for 10 hours per week. The course will be with OU’s Dr. Scott Crabill, an associate professor in the Department of Communication, Journalism, and Public Relations.
“Our first summer group is already half-way through the class and doing a great job renovating a Habitat home for a family in Oakland County,” said Crabill. “All of them will be interviewed by Hanson’s or their employers.”
After completing the Alliance program, students will be encouraged to start their formal apprenticeships with companies or union programs. They can also continue their education at Oakland University, Baker College, or Oakland Community College.
“We know that some of these trained TDC students will become engineers, nurses, manufacturing and construction supervisors, computer and IT experts, and business people. And yes, we do encourage them to come back for studies at OU in the years to come,” said Kevin Corcoran, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and OU’s chief community engagement officer.
High school and GED recipients who have graduated from one of ten Pontiac-approved schools within the past five years may be eligible for tuition assistance from the Pontiac Promise Zone (PPZ).
“There may be other funding sources to pay tuition for veterans, returning, and recovering citizens of all ages,” Strubler said. “We strongly encourage both men and women to apply for these careers.”