Report: Metro Detroit Career Training Programs Difficult to Find, Lack Relevant Programming

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Metro Detroit workforce organizations are difficult to access and lack targeted programming to address the needs of specific populations, making it challenging for Detroiters to attain the skills necessary for available jobs, says a report released today by JPMorgan Chase and Co.  

“JPMorgan Chase and the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce are great partners in our efforts to help Detroiters prepare for and obtain good paying jobs,” says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “Their reports continue to help us identify our challenges and opportunities as we develop our workforce to be prepared not just for jobs that exist today, but also for the opportunities we know will exist tomorrow.”

The report, developed as part of JPMorgan’s $100 million commitment to Detroit, finds programs developed to help train aspiring workers can be difficult to access and many don’t provide critical foundational skills, such as literacy training, GED or high school equivalency programs, and English for other language speakers. The report finds about half of service providers offer targeted programming designed to address the needs of special populations, like ex-offenders. 

The report also finds many job training programs lack information about actual workforce needs and the career pathway opportunities that local employers have to offer. At the same time, many employers lack useful information about the local labor market.

“Detroit’s job training programs are critical to the city’s continued growth, and investments in skill development must keep pace with the city’s changing economy,” says Chauncy Lennon, head of workforce initiatives at JPMorgan Chase. “Our analysis shows that many of the city’s biggest workforce problems are solvable, but only if we work together.”

Lennon says the report identifies the associated training and skills needs for major industries in Detroit, including retail/hospitality, health care, manufacturing, transportation, distribution and logistics, construction and information technology.

In the retail, hospitality, and arts and recreation sector, jobs typically require minimal workforce preparation, yet they typically do not pay a living wage. Lennon says even so, there are more unemployed Detroiters holding a high school diploma than there are total job openings in the sector. He says jobs are more plentiful in the suburbs.

In the health care sector, Lennon says job opening data suggests that health care training programs for minimal and moderate preparation jobs, such as Certified Nursing Assistants, may be over-producing graduates. At the same time, health care employers are having a hard time finding people to fill entry level and middle skills jobs. 

He says the manufacturing industry is steadily growing in metro Detroit, although there is a lack of manufacturing-specific work readiness programs. The report finds software developers and other information technology workers are in high demand in Detroit, but there are no minimal-preparation level job openings.

The report, Detroit’s Untapped Talent: Partnerships and Pathways to Success, is available here.

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