Officials said the academy is in partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 17, the city of Detroit and Focus HOPE.
The academy will “offer new jobs, paid training and wraparound services,” and those who graduate from the program will “help to ensure energy reliability by reducing outages due to fallen trees and branches,” read a press release.
“Detroit has a need for jobs and DTE has a need for tree trimmers,” said DTE Energy President and CEO Jerry Norcia. “Our Tree Trim Academy will create more diversity in our workforce while creating jobs for Detroiters – and at the same time, help us to continue to improve electric reliability as trees account for 70 percent of the time our customers spend without power. We’re committed to Detroit, Detroiters and all of the communities we serve.”
The academy is expected to train 60 people in 2021, according to the press release. It will offer a six-week Line Clearance Tree Trimming (LCTT) training program to teach skills needed to move into the IBEW Local 17 apprenticeship program. Graduates will also receive their commercial driver’s license (CDL) and a certificate in customer service.
Officials said experienced tree trimmers could earn more than $100,000 a year.
“We strive to build an empowered and diverse workforce and are excited to help develop more well-trained and well-paid workers who put safety first,” said James Shaw, business manager at IBEW Local 17. “Growing and developing local talent has to be a focus to best maintain safe, reliable energy.”
Linda Tinsley, program manager with Focus HOPE, said the students will earn a stipend paid each week -- $50 a day for the first two weeks and $100 a day for the last four weeks of the program.
“Many living wage job opportunities have barriers to entry which make it extremely difficult for people from underserved communities to get and keep jobs. This program helps breakdown those barriers for Metro Detroiters,” Tinsley said. “... People want training but generally can’t afford to stop working to complete training programs. This program helps to ensure students can sustain their basic needs while preparing for their future.”
Click here to learn more about the program and to apply.