Community offers free skilled trade training course

The Skilled Trade Apprenticeship Readiness Training program is now available for anyone looking to start a career.

BENZIE COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) — Benzie County is offering a new program to help open the door for those interested in working in the skill trade industry by providing a free pre-apprenticeship opportunity.

The Skilled Trade Apprenticeship Readiness Training program is now available for anyone looking to start a career.

“What it’s main objective is to have trainees come in the program it’s a 320 hour piece over eight weeks,” said Bill Ford, a skilled trade coordinator with the S.T.A.R.T. Program. “We do tools training, both hand tools and power tools.”

Participants in the course must be 18-years-old or older.

“We use a curriculum that is accredited by industry standards,” Ford said.

Fifteen candidates will be able to join in the course. It will take place at Platte River Elementary School in Honor.

The program offers a $50 stipend per day.

Organizers say the lessons will go far beyond the hammer and nail.

“Our intent is to help facilitate the connection with the trainee to local contractors to help do job placement,” Ford described. “We also in our program work on the employability piece, teamwork, communication, problem solving, and goal setting.”

The S.T.A.R.T Program is a collaboration with the Advocates for Benzie County non-profit organization; a group working to find solutions to specific needs in the community.

The converstation for the skilled trade course began when the group realized the main concern was that there was not enough proper housing in the area for the working class.

“From that became a conversation that there were not enough workers in the construction trade to satisfy the needs for housing that needed to be built,” said John Parkin with Advocates for Benzie County. “Young people also did not have a program available to them in the schools.”

“It’s fun to do, the work itself,” Ford said. “There is a lot of pride involved and as we facilitate, we’re going to make sure we bring that to light, because what we do is essential and important.”

The course starts June 25th.

Northwest Michigan Works! also has support and services available for those after the program.

Registration is available by emailing Evelyn Szpliet at or calling Jason Reed, the Co-Chair of the Skilled Trades Task Force at 231-409-1254

An open house will be held June 22, at 10 AM at the elementary school.

Platte River Elementary School

11434 Main Street

Honor, MI 49640

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