DTE Energy to hire inmates through its new tree trimming program

Local News

Michigan is in need of skilled trade workers, and one way the State is trying to fill the gap, is by training inmates.

Today, DTE Energy announced a partnership with the Michigan Department of Corrections. The company will train 40 inmates a year through its new tree trimming program at the Parnell Correctional Facility in Jackson.

“So we’re going to scale up our hiring of returning citizens at DTE. Our partnership here at Parnell to equip members of this community with skills that they need to become tree trimmers, then overtime lineman is an important first step in our effort,” says DTE Energy Executive Chairman Gerry Anderson.

Once the inmates finish the tree trimming program at Parnell, they will get a paid internship through the Local 17 IBEW union. After 5,000 hours of on the job training and 200 hours in the classroom, they will be able to secure a job.

According to Glassdoor, Tree Trimmers make an average of $25/hr and Lineman make close to $100,000 a year.

“Proving our returning citizens with this pathway to the middle class is not only smart, it’s our responsibility.” said Dean Bradley, Business Manager at Local 17 IBEW union.

DTE Energy now joins seven other programs at the Vocational Village inside Parnell. There are two prison-based Vocational Schools in Michigan, and they’re the only ones in the Country. According to MDOC, 95% leave the Vocational School with a job, and only 2% return back to Prison.

A third Vocational Village will open at the Women’s Huron Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti by the end of the year.

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