Detroit Area Talent Development Successes Honored by State Leaders, Workforce Experts at State Capitol

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Joins Local Lawmakers in Celebrating Local Talent, Career Development Efforts in Southeastern Michigan

LANSING, MI (Feb. 28, 2019)— Southeastern Michigan talent development and employment successes were among those celebrated by state leaders at the Michigan Works! Impact Awards this week.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, local lawmakers and statewide talent development officials gathered at the Capitol Wednesday to recognize local resident Stephen Swain, Ajax Paving, Michigan HDRI and the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation.

To help meet the need for skilled talent in Detroit, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation, and the Detroit at Work program, partnered with many local agencies to revitalize the Randolph Career Technology Center into a state-of-the-art facility that offers courses for high school students during the day and adults in the evening.

“There are certain things you need to be successful and Randolph provided me with that,” Stephen Swain said.

The free nine-week program called Access for All is linked to employer demand, and now more than 300 Detroit adults have received training thanks to Michigan HDRI and United Way, who created the program.

“It has been an epic experience, seeing the investment in our school and the increased opportunities that we are able to offer to our students, both high school and adult,” said Krista Mc-Kinney King, Randolph Career and Technology Center Principal. “I can’t thank our partners enough – if ever there was an example of the benefits a multi-faceted collaboration can deliver, Randolph Career Tech is that example.”

Stephen Swain wanted to have a career where he could work with his hands and didn’t want to rack up student loan debt. A native-Detroiter, Swain took advantage of the Access for All program, which prepared him for a skilled trades apprenticeship. He received an offer from Ajax Paving on his graduation day from Randolph CTC.

“Stephen’s training meant he was a very good candidate for employment, and we have hired several other Randolph Access for All training graduates as well,” said Christina O’Brien, Ajax Paving Industries Human Resources Manager. “Having a pool of candidates available with many of the skills we need already in place makes hiring a lot easier.”

Today’s awards honor the work to help Detroiters gain skills and build careers.
“The Randolph Career Tech Center and the Access for All program shows what can happen if people work together to improve outcomes for Detroiters,” said state Sen. Betty Jean Alexander (D-Detroit).

“Congratulations to Stephen Swain and the 300 other Detroiters who have taken advantage of this program to transform their lives.”

The Impact Awards, hosted by Michigan Works! Association, recognize the economic development success being achieved in communities across Michigan. During the event, local lawmakers present tributes to dozens of honorees from across the state.

Gov. Whitmer addresses the Impact Awards attendees.

Award winners included employers, workers, Michigan Works! organizations, and partners from across the state.

“Finding the right talent to meet company needs can be a challenge but Ajax Paving utilized the resources at Michigan Works! to find the right candidates,” said state Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak). “Congratulations to Ajax for seeing the value of the Access for All Program and creating career opportunities for Metro Detroiters.”

Michigan Works! Association is a non-profit membership organization that provides services and support to Michigan’s talent eco-system. For over 30 years, the Association has been the go-to resource for federal, state and local workforce initiatives. The Association’s work ensures top-quality services and support for Michigan’s talent pipeline. For more information, please visit  Find the nearest Michigan Works! American Job Center by visiting or by calling (1 800) 285-WORKS (9675).