Last night at our City Council meeting, a local podiatrist asked for his site plan to be extended another year because the demand for skilled labor in our region and throughout Michigan is so significant that it is driving up the cost of just about everything construction-related and therefore, causing projects to either be delayed or not get built. This is a challenge for people writing the checks, but good for those who are performing the work. So it was quite a coincidence that this morning I would be attending the Ribbon Cutting for the new precision tool technology lab at OCC/Auburn Hills, where students can learn a skilled trade right out of high school in a clean, high-tech lab environment, and in just two years, earn $30+ per hour. Where else could it be more important than Auburn Hills to celebrate technology, surrounded by companies in our community that are seeking skilled labor in careers that are being developed by OCC. My observation at last night’s City Council meeting is that we need to bring back the prominence and respect of skilled trades in our society. A college degree isn’t for everyone . . . but making a good living is. As a parent, I think it’s important to talk to our kids about careers in skilled trades where they can be a part of technology that is exciting and contributes to the growth of our local, statewide, and national economy. Based on a 2,080 hour work year (40 hours per week), young people completing the precision tooling program are earning annual incomes starting around $60,000. That is nothing to sneeze at! Check out the expected starting wages of many other professions, and I think you’ll find this to be a highly competitive rate of pay and the demand for these jobs continues to grow.
OCC Chancellor Dr. Tim Meyer and State Representative Brad Jacobsen stand next to a Hurco precision tool machine in the Hurco Lab in T-building (the Advanced Technology Building) at OCC/Auburn Hills
An up-close shot of a Hurco control panel that operates the precision tooling machine
More Hurco precision tooling machines
A robot at work in the robotics lab
The ribbon cutting of the Hurco Precision Tool Lab. Special note: our very own State Representative, Tim Greimel, is on the far right in this photo
Tom Tanghe, City Manager