16 Kalamazoo County Residents Graduate from Pre-Apprenticeship Training

In early May of 2019, the Vision for Prosperity Apprenticeship Readiness Training Program, designed to address the need for skilled workers in construction trades, celebrated the graduation of their first cohort, comprised of 16 individuals from the Kalamazoo area, at a luncheon and graduation ceremony held at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 357 Training Center in Schoolcraft. The training was developed with support from the building trades and included 360 hours of blueprint reading, construction math, health and safety, first aid/CPR, building trades and labor history, exploration of construction trades pathways, and site tours to numerous apprenticeship training facilities and a local construction project.

In his closing address to event attendees, graduate Kiwarn Hunt stated, “We stand before you skilled, educated and hopeful of our future. We desire to have a career to retire with dignity and honor and trust me we know, it can be a hard-knocked life, but it doesn’t have to be if you have a vision, a vision of prosperity.”

The celebration concluded with a job fair where the graduates met one-on-one with representatives from numerous construction trades. Many of the graduates have already applied and been accepted into an Apprenticeship Training Program, some are currently going through the interview process, and others are waiting for the application period to open for their preferred apprenticeship training pathway.

The training program was created and funded in collaboration with the Local Initiative Support Corporation of Kalamazoo, United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region, Michigan Human Resource Development Inc., West Michigan Construction Alliance, Youth Opportunities Unlimited of Kalamazoo, the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency and Michigan Works! Southwest. Through private funding, the program will be expanding to Calhoun County, with recruitment beginning in late 2019.