Ford’s Michigan Central Station Restoration Project is Bringing Trade Jobs Back to Detroit

Recently, Ford Motor Company has introduced a plan to begin rebuilding the infrastructure of Detroit, one of America’s most underprivileged cities. One aspect of this plan, the restoration of the Michigan Central Station, has already been making leaps and bounds in the journey to bring Detroit out of the shadows. 

Ford purchased the Michigan Central Station last summer, and are now leading the charge to restore the historic building to its former glory. 

In an effort to revitalize the city’s lack of specialized trade workers like masons, bricklayers, plumbers, and electricians through this project, 12 students from A. Philip Randolph Technical High School were given the opportunity to work on masonry projects around the city during the summer, including not only Michigan Central Station, but also Wayne State University.

The apprentices are paid a fair hourly wage, and are mentored by experienced construction employees. Ford expects the program to grow in the coming years and expand to other trades, with perhaps as many as 40 students joining the program in the coming years.

“A big part of our project is masonry work and we’ve worked with our partners to design a unique program that starts in the high schools and gets kids exposed to the trades,” said Richard Bardelli, Ford’s construction manager on the Michigan Central Station project.

Ford has partnered with masonry contractor RAM Construction Services to help visually restore the prominent train station’s 15-story tower and ground floor to its 1913 appearance

The apprentices, including 18-year-old Randolph graduate and Detroit resident Maguel Ligon, will spend the next two years working a steady construction job where he is responsible for cleaning, repointing, and replacing damaged terracotta, limestone, and brick all along the station’s exterior.

“I always wanted to work on construction but I didn’t know how to do it,” said Ligon. “Everybody thinks you have to go to college after school but there are so many other things you can do. I’m ready to learn.”

The President of RAM Construction, Robert Mazur, says Ford’s apprentice program is an investment in Detroit’s youth and the future infrastructure of the city itself. 

“Currently there are not enough people who live in Detroit with the skills we need for projects like the train station,” Mazur stated. “We’re happy to give long term career opportunities to these students and give them the tools to succeed.”

The restoration of the Michigan Central Station is simply the first massive undertaking in Ford’s quest to revitalize the city of Detroit. For students like Miguel Ligon, the apprentice program means everything. 

“I’m really excited to start working at the station,” Ligon said. “We’re cleaning things up and helping change people's perceptions of the city. We’re helping bring the city back.”

Categories: People
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