In May 2019, Pamela Linton, M.Ed. and C.B.S.P. (Certified Business Solutions Professional) was selected by Crain’s Business Detroit for its list of Notable Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Linton was selected by a team of Crain’s Detroit Business editors based on her career accomplishments, track record of success in the field, contributions to the community and mentorship of others. Linton has been the Apprenticeship Coordinator for Occupational Programs at Schoolcraft College since 2016. Her responsibilities include promoting the apprenticeships available at Schoolcraft, partnering with area employers to help them become apprenticeship sponsors, and assisting them in getting their apprentices established in school.
“I love what I do,” said Linton. “Industry today is not what our parents and grandparents knew. Today, the facilities are attractive, clean, well-lit and have state-of-the-art technology including robotics. The businesses I work with offer careers not just jobs.”
The apprenticeship program at Schoolcraft College educates and trains individuals in professional trades such as CNC (computer numerical control) machining, electronics, welding, mechatronics/multi-skilled technology, robotics, and metallurgy/materials science by providing a clear pathway to meaningful employment with chances to move up in the industry. Many students earn $50,000 to $60,000 a year to start, receive benefits and most employers reimburse or pay tuition for apprentices leaving students with little to no student loan debt at the conclusion of the apprenticeship.
According to Linton, most public schools dropped vocational training decades ago and the focus went away from manufacturing into other fields and four-year college degrees. During the Obama Administration, the Department of Labor recognized the problem and impact and funding for training began. At the onset of the Trump Administration, another $200 million was added to increase education in the professional trades across the country. The result is that secondary schools are starting to bring back programs and students are learning that there are far more career options available to them.
Schoolcraft College had 16 employer sponsors last year alone, 30 registered apprenticeships, and 21 pre-apprenticeships. The numbers keep climbing. There is no limit on the admissions that can be accepted for the program prerequisites. With the Department of Labor oversight, more employers and student connections are made which result in more filled positions in the work force. The programs have flexible calendars and generally take four years to complete; all while working and earning a full-time income with the sponsoring employer. At this time, there are more than 540,000 openings in Michigan for skilled trade workers.