In an effort to bolster Michigan’s workforce with skilled industrial sewers, today the Maker’s Coalition and Detroit Garment Group Guild, known as DG3, will launch the state’s first industrial sewing certificate program to train unemployed and underemployed for work in cut-and-sew manufacturing facilities.
The program kicks-offs today with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Henry Ford College M-TEC campus in Dearborn.
“One of the big issues coming up is that a lot of the people who are currently industrial sewers in the state of Michigan are in their 50s and early 60s and will be retiring in the next five to10 years,” says Karen Buscemi, president of DG3. Manufacturers “are all very concerned about how they are going to replace this workforce.”
Buscemi says when the founders of the program were initially exploring the idea of offering a certificate course, they reached out through a survey to a small selection of cut-and-sew operations to find more information about the state of the job market for industrial sewers. “Through their sample they found an excess of 300 vacant positions, she says. “It’s a problem happening all over the country, it’s not just Michigan.”
The pilot program will focus on training unemployed or underemployed students, who will take classes full time at M-TEC, receiving some 180 academic hours of lab time. Students will get a broad-based experience by visiting a variety of cut-and-sew manufacturers in the region.
“We will be really working with them and working with the cut-and-sew manufacturers, making sure that they are learning the key skills that they will need to succeed in all the different industries, whether it’s automotive, it’s upholstery, it’s apparel, or boating,” Buscemi says.
Once they’ve completed the program, certified industrial sewers can expect to earn between $12 and $16 per hour.
The Maker’s Coalition DG3 is already looking to expand the certificate program to other campuses around the state including M-TEC facilities in Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Flint.
For more information on the program click here.