Stephanie Beckhorn (r) listens to Delta students explain CNC machining. (photo by Michael Percha)

Skilled trades are the name of the game as the state of Michigan looks to close an ever widening employment gap. It’s estimated around 811,000 skilled and technical trades jobs will need to be filled by 2024, and employers are struggling to find qualified workers for those positions.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s cabinet is touring the state, holding discussions on how better to help those employers. Their latest stop was Delta College on Tuesday, February 26. Delta is a nationally acclaimed technical trades and manufacturing center, with programs in Computer Numeric Control (CNC) Chemical Processing, automotive, electrical and more.

Acting Director of the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development Stephanie Beckhorn says the state has enacted the Going PRO campaign to attract young people to skilled trades careers, plus Michigan Reconnect, which gives employees in in-demand industries a chance to take the next step in their careers with additional training. Beckhorn says the Michigan Promise can also get students into a career pathway by offering tuition free education to two year institutions or paying for the first two years of a four year public or private not-for-profit school.

Currently, around 300 Delta students are enrolled in skilled trades apprenticeships offered in conjunction with area employers.