Training for high-paying skilled trades jobs available at Randolph Career Technical Education Center

Training for high-paying skilled trades jobs available at Randolph Career Technical Education Center



Hundreds of kids and adults who want to explore the world of skilled trades will have the chance to earn high-paying jobs as the Randolph Career Technical Education Center opens its doors to the public with new improvements.

Those learning these new skills can fill jobs in high demand in Detroit as a host of construction projects are breaking ground across the city.Those jobs pay between $13-$22 and hour and up to $30 an hour for experience journeymen. Students also will be able to learn from local unions, construction contractors, with the potential for paid internships while in school and apprenticeship programs upon graduation.

Students learning CAD (computer-aided design) will learn to create drawings and 3D geometry in both standard and metric measurements. CAD is looked as pre-engineering in the construction trades. Photo courtesy of DPSCD

“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,” says Mayor Mike Duggan.

Before the upgrade, Randolph was another outdated vocational high school in the Midwest. Now, it has become a state-of-the-art place to teach skilled trades after teaming-up of Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC), the City of Detroit and Mayor Mike Duggan’s Workforce Development Board, which raised $10 million in funding and in-kind contributions from people across the community for the improvements.

Among the job training made possible by the upgrades are:

  • Carpentry
  • Masonry
  • Plumbing & pipefitting
  • HVAC
  • Computer-aided design (CAD)
  • Heavy equipment simulation
  • Entrepreneurship

The improvements also made it possible to bring back electrical training courses, which had been gone for three years

Learning HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) offers good job opportunities. Students learn to test and service an air conditioning unit, perform electrical, mechanical, and maintenance tasks as well as the installation, maintenance, and operation of residential air conditioning and refrigeration systems. Photo courtesy of DPSCD

In the next three years, the DPSCD plans to enroll up to 900 people in the program and the DESC expects to see 900 adults enrolled in new adult training programs. In its heyday Randolph had 600 students enrolled.In recent years,enrollment dropped to 150 students.

“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,” says 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.”

Program opened for students, adults

Students will come from across the city, and attend a half day five days a week.  In the afternoons and evenings, adults seeking a new vocation sit in those classrooms.

Kids who are interested must be entering grades 11 or 12. You can find more information and enroll at  Transportation home or back to school can be provided.

Interested students and parents will have a chance to go to one of two open houses to see the updates and explore the improved campus.  The open houses are on Wednesday, August 30from 1-7p.m. and Wednesday, September 6 from 3-7p.m., at Randolph Career Tech, 17101 Hubbell.

Community, business partnership

Students who take up plumbing and pipefitting as a career will learn to assemble, measure and construct piping and plumbing systems as well as how to install, repair, and replace them. Photo courtesy of DPSCD

The community has been a major part in the renovations with DTE (project management) and Barton Marlow (construction) taking the lead.  Gensler provided design services and Bedrock donated technology and made in-kind building improvements. Wayne RESA and the Black Caucus Foundation of Michigan also contributed on an in-kind basis.

“There are huge opportunities for good-paying jobs in skilled trades at DTE  Energy 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,” says 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.”

Several unions were consulted to make sure Randolph training was compatible with the real-life applications. The unions consulted included:

  • 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
  • Metro Detroit AFL-CIO.

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 improvements were funded by DTE Energy, the Wilson Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, Ford, UAW-Ford, the Detroit Pistons Foundation, Walbridge and Barton Malow.“This important project could never have happened without the support of these partners,” says Mayor Duggan.

The electrical program teaches students how to install, maintain and repair electrical systems. They’ll learn how to do such things as wire an actual house circuit, read blueprints, design layouts, bend conduit, and test electrical systems. Photo courtesy of DPSCD

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.

“This institution has a proud history of preparing Detroit residents for good-paying careers in the skilled trades,” says Duggan.

The renovation of Randolph allows a new generation of eager workers to do what Detroit has always done – give the world the skilled workers needed. It also insures the city’s legacy not only continues, but fills critically needed jobs.


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