First published by Crain’s Detroit Business, September 12, 2018.
The Detroit Pistons and partners building the team’s new headquarters and practice facility in the city’s New Center area have launched a jobs portal to help meet a hiring quota.
The Platform LLC, the developer, and Christman-Brinker, the construction manager, joined the Pistons in rolling out the hiring system through Skillsmart Inc., a skills-matching website based in Germantown, Md. Officials behind the project hope the workforce development system will help contractors fill more than half of construction jobs with Detroit residents.
Construction of the $65 million Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center is part of an agreement between the city of Detroit and Pistons owner Tom Gores to move the NBA team from Auburn Hills to Little Caesars Arena downtown.
Pistons Vice Chairman Arn Tellem said the technology targets Detroiters and would develop a pool of talent.
As part of the Pistons’ 10-point community benefits agreement with the city, the team also donated $100,000 to the Detroit Employment Solutions Corp. to improve skilled trades training at Randolph Career Technical center, a trade school within the Detroit Public Schools Community District.
It is not clear how many construction jobs would be created through the Henry Ford-Detroit Pistons project. A project manager with Christman-Brinker could not be immediately reached for more details Wednesday.
Construction of the 175,000-square-foot facility began in October and foundation work, concrete basement walls and underground utilities have been built, the release said. The facility is expected to open next summer.
The Skillsmart system will offer jobs throughout the construction process and is open to non-Detroit residents as well, Pistons spokesman Kevin Grigg said.
Some large-scale development projects in Detroit have failed to meet the city’s requirement that 51 percent of construction jobs be filled by Detroit residents. Contractors have blamed a low supply of qualified Detroiters with skilled-trades training, which Pat Devlin of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council said is difficult as numerous projects compete for a limited pool of workers.
“[T]his benchmark becomes increasingly more difficult to reach today with so many projects currently competing for the same workforce,” Devlin, secretary treasurer of the MBCTC, said in the release. “The Detroit Pistons are being proactive in their approach to implement a workforce development platform” to hire qualified candidates and promote training programs.”