MARQUETTE – In an agreement inked today (June 27) between the Michigan State Building and Construction Trades Council and Northern Michigan University, apprenticeship programs for five skilled trades will be moved to the Jacobetti Center on NMU’s campus this fall.
Students training for careers as ironworkers, plumbers and pipe fitters, sheet metal workers, bricklayers and allied crafts, and operating engineers will take courses at the Jacobetti Center, taught in partnership by NMU faculty and trade instructors.
The programs were previously housed in the Toivo-Seilo Apprenticeship School on Fair Avenue near Marquette Senior High School.
“This heralds a new era in craft apprenticeship and training in the Upper Peninsula,” said Jon LaSalle, Michigan State Building and Construction Trades Council field representative. “In order for the trades to grow and meet the needs of industry, our apprenticeship programs need to expand and utilize state-of-the-art facilities. At Northern we have a much higher-opportunity facility, the ability to expand our curriculum and increase the number of students we train.”
Sixty students are currently enrolled in the program and LaSalle expects to see a 20 percent growth in enrollment over the next year due to this partnership. He characterizes the three- and four-year programs as “earning the equivalent of a Ph.D. for blue-collar workers.”
Upon completion of the intensive coursework and on-the-job training, students are awarded a certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training.
“We’re very pleased to provide good training facilities for apprentices,” said NMU President Les Wong. “With NMU’s fundamental philosophy of being a main force in economic development in the U.P., working hand-in-hand with trades people is a natural fit for us and a win-win situation for all involved.”