Detroit schools, skilled trade programs get $9 million infusion

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A big effort underway to train the chefs, mechanics and welders of the future.

Bedrock, one of billionaire Dan Gilbert's companies is investing $1 million into Breithaupt Career and Technical School in Detroit.  This kicked off the city's effort to raise $9 million to revitalize the school and put kids on a pathway to learning a trade. While Quicken Loans and Bedrock is contributing the initial $1 million to the trade school that's already operational. 

Mayor Mike Duggan joined the superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District Dr. Nikolai Vitti were there for the announcement.

"We are going to put $9 million into your building," Duggan said. "How does that sound?" 

It was the best news students at Breithaupt Career and Technical School could imagine. An investment to train Detroit's brightest students and keep their talents here at home. 

"We have 5,000 vacant jobs in this city today," Duggan said. "We need to make sure Detroiters get those jobs."

Quicken Loans and Bedrock are making the initial $1 million investment into the school.

It is here that high school students in Detroit Public Schools can get real training in everything from cosmetology to automotive. 

"We know what it means to be able to find good talent, I can't tell you how excited we are to be a part of this process," said Bill Emerson, vice chairman, Quicken Loans.

For more than 10 years, while the city was under an emergency manager the trade schools went to the wayside, that's why they're working so hard to get them funding now.

"This was my dream actually to do something in the nail career industry," said student Kenia Luna.

Luna is a 17-year-old junior and already well on her way to becoming a working cosmetologist. What she's learned here, is helping her make a name for herself in state and national contests.

"It's just so much fun because I'm learning while experiencing with them," she said.

And Kellan Johnson is the only female automotive student in the program. She has big dreams.

"I want to open my own collision shops and I can train kids and have people work for me," she said. 

Vitti says they will start making the upgrades to infrastructure and new equipment with initial $1 million.

The city and its partners will keep working to get the rest of the $8 million promised to Breithaupt.

"In the city of Detroit we don't have a talent gap, we have an opportunity gap," he said. "We have bright, talented students, we have bright, talented community members that are ready to show what they are able to do. They just need to be connected to opportunity."