November 28, 2022

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How Mikey 23 Is Transforming Its Community

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If you want to help someone you can write a check, pay their bills, and be on your way. If you really want to transform someone’s life, you can teach them how to do those things for themselves. There is a community-based organization in Michigan that is helping people learn skilled trades, and putting them on the path to success.

When you have the opportunity to learn skilled trades, you have the chance to make a really good living, and make a positive impact in your community. The Mikey 23 Foundation is helping young people to learn skilled trades and become an asset in their communities.

A Foundation Born of Tragedy

The Mikey 23 Foundation was started in memory of Michael ‘Mikey’ McKissic II, a 23-year-old man that was gunned down. The McKissic family started Mikey 23 to help young people, parolees, and others learn skilled trades to honor Mikey’s memory.

Mikey loved the construction industry like his father and his grandfather before him. He planned to someday take over the family business. The family, deep in their own grief and frustration (the murder was not solved), decided to take that frustration and grief and do something positive with it. They looked to the community and considered ways that they could make sure that Mikey would always be associated with good deeds. They began their non-profit and started signing up young people for apprenticeships.

Helping people learn skilled trades is not the only thing the foundation does. This is an active group that is always looking for ways to help the community. Using their apprentices, they make repairs to buildings that would never be repaired by your average company. This foundation focuses on giving people an opportunity to learn how to become a new home builder, and to learn skilled trades that they can parlay into lucrative careers while they better their own community.

These paid apprenticeships help people whose future did not look so bright before getting the boost of confidence that they needed. More importantly, it shows people that someone really cares about their future. Many of the apprentices are young people that have legal problems or a conviction history. Mikey’s dad Michael McKissic Senior knows all too well what it feels like to make a mistake and be judged harshly for it. He had a strong support system in his parents and tries to show that one mistake does not mean a lifetime of struggles through the foundation.

Helping People To Help Themselves

It is no secret that this generation of young people is facing challenges that generations before them never had to deal with. The explosion of prescription drug addiction, the racial inequality issues, and the zero-tolerance in the criminal court system has left many young people teetering on the edge. Your life should not be over in your twenties because of minor mistakes that you make.

While office based opioid treatment can help get the addiction under control, and the bail agents can get you out of jail, how do you piece your life back together? Mikey 23 believes that when you learn skilled trades you can avoid many of the pitfalls that get you incarcerated again, and undo the treatment work that you went through.

Being successful at learning how to construct wood fences for many young people that have had a tough few years can be the first time they experienced success building something, instead of tearing their lives apart. Of course, the fact that these are paid apprenticeships also helps these young people stay on top of things like paying off their bail bond services, court fines, child support, and more to stay out of trouble.

Whether they learn skilled trades for roofing service or drywalling, those trades can help build a foundation for them to live a life that they can be proud of. Not every apprentice has a legal history. Not every apprentice has a drug problem history. Some apprentices are young people that desire to learn skilled trades to better their life and get their future on track. The Foundation is there to help all young people that have a desire to shake off their past and build a better future.

It Fills A Great Need

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry is in need of a boost to the workforce. Millennials are the largest sector of the workforce yet only 1/3 of the total construction workforce. The average median age of a construction worker is 42, which means as the current workforce reaches retirement age, there will be no one to replace these skilled workers. Getting young people involved in the skilled trades is vital to the economy and the growth of the nation. There are over one million lawyers in the United States and less than 20,000 welders.

It is important that the building trades are replenishing the workforce with younger people that can take the helm in the skilled trade arena. Right now adding young people to the workforce needs to be a priority so that in 20 years we are not left in a bind. We will always need tradespeople to keep our country running and growing.

Through the Mikey 23 Foundation, apprenticeship program welding courses are offered, building courses through on-the-job training, and more which can shore up the workforce. There are not enough people that learn skilled trades through a legitimate, registered apprenticeship program. Mikey 23 Foundation is helping to change that.

Skilled trades are important to every area of all societies. What would you do if you could not find a roofer or an electrician when you needed one? Apprenticeships are not a new idea. They have been in place since ancient times. They are the way that information has been handed down through the generations especially when it comes to learning skilled trades.

There is no better way to create the next generation of skilled tradespeople than through an apprenticeship. There are things about skilled trades that you just cannot learn in a book or in a classroom, you have to be on the job and working to learn the fine art of these craftspeople.

In the 1920s, the Fitzgerald Act was passed which established a national standard for apprenticeships. The fact is apprentices have helped to build America, and then stepped into the role of the master-builder after enough time on the job, and taught the next generation.

Mikey 23 Foundation and their apprenticeship program is not only affecting the next generation but will reach generations to come. As each apprentice moves up the ladder and achieves mastery of their given trade they, in turn, will take on their own apprentices and pass on the teaching. This foundation will have a long-reaching snowball effect of teaching many generations to come, the skillsets that are needed to keep making Michigan stronger through building and America stronger through building.

Doing Great Things

Mikey 23 Foundation helps young people learned skilled trades, and betters the community by offering free repair services to disabled veterans, the elderly, and other low-income homeowners. The services give their apprentices experience and help to improve the community.

They also accept donations of abandoned buildings, repair them, and sell them to raise funds for their other activities. This unique program puts their apprentices to work from the start not only to learn skilled trades but to foster a sense of responsibility to their community.

By transforming abandoned buildings that were once an eyesore on the landscape into usable spaces, they instill a sense of community pride in these young people. They encourage their apprentices to pay it forward. Many of their apprentices become commercial building contractors that use their skill sets to pay it forward to community members.

The young people are always encouraged to keep their on the future while never forgetting where they come from so that they can go on and help people. This foundation is all about philanthropy and helping others in the community. From helping a homeless vet get major renovation work to his home to providing homes for recently released felons, Mikey 23 Foundation truly stays focused on helping community members, and those that have fallen through the cracks.

A Wide Range of Skilled Trades Are Taught

One apprentice recently commented that he hopes to build his own home someday using the skilled trades that he has learned from the foundation. The apprentices are taught by master craftsmen like plumbers, electricians, drywallers, floor installers, and more. Metal building and fabrication, carpentry, and other skilled trades are combined to help each apprentice find their path.

By providing a wide range of opportunities to learn skilled trades each apprentice is able to pick and choose which trades they feel like they fit in with. For example, one apprentice may love woodworking while another may be more interested in asphalt paving, and another still may find that electrical work is what they love.

It is a good thing that the Mikey 23 Foundation offers all of these learning opportunities because good people are needed in every construction field. They are building a better future not just for the apprentices but for the larger community.

How Can You Become an Apprentice?

If you or someone you know wants to learn skilled trades you can apply to become an apprentice at Mikey 23. The process is simple. You just connect with Michael McKissic at (517) 712-8446, or email him at mckissicconst@comcast.net to get the process started. Of course, if you’re nowhere near the community that Mikey 23 helps, you can always get in contact with local apprenticeship programs. Reach out to your local community to see if there are any opportunities available.

As a paid apprentice, you will learn skilled trades that can put you on the path to a great income. You will get to meet a great bunch of people that have the same goals as you. This program will give any young person the foundation that they can really build on.

While the Mikey 23 Foundation hopes that their apprentices will stay in the area and continue to do the hard work of revitalizing the community and boosting the local economy, the skilled trades you learn are wanted everywhere in the United States.

The program is rigorous but it comes with a lot of support and a lot of people that are invested in seeing you do well in life. This can be just the opportunity you need to get your life on track and start to make a positive difference in your community.

You will get the real-life experience that employers are always looking for. This is not the book work that keeps you indoors at a desk, this is real life on-the-job training to learn while you earn. If you or someone you know is looking for direction in their life, reach out to Mikey 23 Foundation to learn skilled trades.

How Can You Help?

This non-profit organization relies heavily on the kindness of others to sustain this program. All donations are tax-deductible. They accept cash donations and:

  • Work trucks, construction clothes (safety equipment), tools, and construction equipment
  • Abandoned homes, fire damaged homes, and other dwellings
  • Construction supplies, gift cards, and of course, cash donations

There are plenty of ways you can help this great foundation continue to do its good work. All used construction equipment, new and used tools, construction clothing, safety equipment, and more are deeply appreciated and put to good use.

You can volunteer your time. The Mikey 23 Foundation always has a project in the works that can always use an extra set of hands. If you are a master of your craft you can even help to train the apprentices.

This foundation is an excellent way to give back to your community. When you donate to the Mikey 23 Foundation you know your gift is staying in your community. Any way that you can help will make a difference not only for the young people that are learning the skilled trades they need for their future but for the entire community. Get involved today and help make a difference right in your own backyard.