There are events that educate. There are events that celebrate. And then there are events that create jobs and have the potential to change the state of business in the state of Michigan.
That is where the Detroit Garment Group Guild comes in. It is going to be a whirlwind week for the group, which goes by the nickname DG3. The not-for-profit organization is launching a new sewing program Monday and host its second annual FashionSpeak event on Thursday, Oct. 16.
Monday’s event will introduce the DG3’s first cohort of the Industrial Sewing Certificate Program Henry Ford College M-TEC in Dearborn. This program is the first of its kind in Michigan, and it has the huge goal of bringing back the lost trade of industrial sewing to meet the demand for these workers in Michigan.
“DG3 could not be more proud of this accomplishment and so thankful for all of our partners, from Henry Ford and Michigan Works to Lear Corporation and The Makers Coalition. Plus all the people and companies that donated money and machinery to create our classroom,” said Karen Buscemi, Founder and President of DG3. “Dreams can become reality! Never give up!”
The demand is significant, Buscemi notes. The need for skilled industrial sewers in Michigan, including the number of open jobs currently available and the issue of current sewers who will be retiring in the next 5-10 years and the need to replace such large numbers. There also are significant opportunities for the unemployed and the underemployed to get funded training and learn the skills necessary to get a job that will allow them to earn a living wage, she said.
DG3 has been working diligently to bring these kinds of initiatives to Michigan. Its overall goal is to increase apparel manufacturing in Detroit, including opening its own facility in 2015, Buscemi added. Michigan already has a surprisingly large fashion community and cut-and-sew community, especially for the automotive and furniture industries. But it needs more and more attention on this job-creating opportunity.
DG3 and stakeholders partnered with The Makers Coalition to create the Coalition’s first chapter. This partnership brings an Industrial Sewing Certificate Program (ISCP) to Michigan. The Detroit Chapter is comprised of DG3, Henry Ford College Michigan Technical Education Center (HFC M-TEC), The Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA Michigan Works!), Lear Corp. and other local employers.
Michigan Works! Will take on the role of recruiting and screening potential students, as well as seeking to identify funding for those who qualify and assisting with job placement for students who complete the program. Lear, headquartered in Southfield, is a major corporate sponsor.
On Thursday, DG3 and Taubman Corp. will present FashionSpeak, the only fashion conference in Michigan. The event will bring together nationally recognized experts in five fields crucial to the success of the fashion industry, each conducting a 70-minute workshop, all centered around the business of fashion.
The DG3’s conference mission is “Keep Michigan Talent in Michigan,” Buscemi said. It hopes to achieve that goal by giving both students and professionals the tools, education and resources to be better business owners. The first conference, which took place October 2013, quickly sold out, with more than 200 people in attendance. This year’s One Woodward venue, which is a Rock Ventures property (Bedrock Real Estate Services, LLC is a sponsor of the conference), will allow for an even larger crowd.
Attendees will receive top-notch education, insight and advice during the workshops. This year, each workshop is extended by 20 minutes, to allow for more interaction between speaker and attendees, and to also allow for longer Q&A, a favorite of all who attended last year’s event. Attendees include fashion and accessories designers, photographers, bloggers, wardrobe stylists, fashion retailers, students, and more.
The event will take place at the historic and modern One Woodward building in downtown Detroit. Tickets are almost sold out; the last one was still available as of this blog posting. To learn more, click here.