Detroit high schoolers get hands-on insight into skilled trade careers

From construction to plumbing, juniors and seniors from 12 Detroit high schools got a unique opportunity to explore skilled trade careers.

DETROIT – From construction to plumbing, juniors and seniors from 12 Detroit high schools got a unique opportunity to explore skilled trade careers in Eastern Market.

It’s part of Sachse Construction Academy.

In its seventh year, the event takes a speed-dating type approach with hundreds of students stopping at a different station every few minutes; each station features a different career and hands-on activity.

Todd Sachse, CEO of Sachse Construction said the idea came about years ago as they were brainstorming ways to commemorate their 25th anniversary. The academy did so well in its first year they decided to make it an annual event.

“They’re hammering nails, they’re soldering pipes with the plumbers, they’re laying brick and mortar and also most importantly, they’re talking to the men and women who do it for living,” said Sachse.

He knows a skilled trade job is underestimated and that’s why he believes programs are critical in exposing students to possibilities.

“Our mission and our vision today, here, is simply exposing these young men to opportunity, and if they choose to pursue something we’re showing them the path to that,” said Sachse.

For the hundreds of students who attend, the day is full of surprises.

Jalen Rose Leadership Academy senior Stephanie Jones said there’s a lot she didn’t know, “You can get paid for going to school while learning because it’s the other way around like you have to pay to go to school for college.”

Douglass College Prep Academy junior Xylon Holmes shared that what shocked him the most is pay.

“It’s amazing that you could go to trade school and come right out of trade school making six figures, depending on what you’re doing and how you do it,” said Holmes.

The high schoolers also uncover interests they didn’t know they had.

Holmes explained, “The plumbing is really catching my eye because it’s important.”

“Once I got here and I saw it, I was like ‘Oh I might like this,’ I took a couple of papers and I’m going to sign up,” Jones said.

Throughout the day, those surprises quickly turn into inspiration.

“It’s opening so many opportunities and doors not just for myself but for my fellow peers and what we want to do,” said Holmes.

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.