Mayor Dobies Welcomes MI AFL-CIO Workforce Development Institute’s Apprenticeship Readiness Training Program to Jackson

“Access for All” has proven track record in Detroit, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek

JACKSON — Today the Michigan AFL-CIO Workforce Development Institute (WDI) announced expansion of its Access For All Apprenticeship Readiness Training program into the city of Jackson. Access For All was conceived, developed and launched in 2014 with initial support from the United Way of Southeast Michigan, and expanded into Kalamazoo and Battle Creek in 2019. WDI recently received additional funding from the State of Michigan to continue expanding the program into other Michigan communities.

WDI works closely on this and other programs with the Michigan State Building Trades Council and its affiliate building trades unions. This includes hiring instructors directly from the trades and access for students to various worksites for hands-on experience in a variety of conditions and professions.

“Access For All provides a simple and easy pathway directly into good-paying building trades jobs for our students, and it’s completely free to all students,” said Cheryl Sanford, CEO of the Michigan AFL-CIO Workforce Development Institute. “This program will give anyone interested in Jackson a good look at what it’s like to work in a few different trades jobs, from spending a few days working on a community project with people already working successful careers in the building trades, to a classroom element so they’re totally prepared to be on the job.”

Access For All targets residents from underserved communities who are economically disadvantaged, minority, female, veterans, or young people aged 18–24 to provide them with the skills they need to successfully compete for entry into Building Trades Apprenticeships, leading to a construction industry career that can provide economic self-sufficiency.

The program is focused on long term success of all students and attempts to ensure that communities who have previously faced barriers to these in-demand and lucrative career paths have all the support they need to work past these obstacles. Wraparound services and case management are provided throughout the program; for qualified applicants who need extra support this could mean assistance with transportation, childcare, financial literacy, clothing, tools, and other necessary services that clear the path for full participation. They’re also connected with mentors including previous graduates who provide services for current students. Classes are scheduled at convenient times and modest stipends are provided for students.

“The City of Jackson is thrilled to welcome Access For All to help rebuild our economy with good-paying jobs as we recover from the pandemic,” said Derek Dobies, Mayor of Jackson. “Access For All provides pathways into stable, lucrative careers in the building trades, while working to provide all of the support necessary for qualified students to successfully complete the program, learn a new trade, and launch their new career. This is a great opportunity to build financial and economic stability in people’s lives, and I’m looking forward to welcoming the new class this fall!”

Kaelyn Lewis, a Jackson native, will serve as the Case Manager for the Access For All program in Jackson.

More about the Michigan AFL-CIO Workforce Development Institute:

Candidates can sign-up at:




Proud father. Devoted husband. Mayor of the City of Jackson, MI.

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Derek Dobies

Derek Dobies

Proud father. Devoted husband. Mayor of the City of Jackson, MI.

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