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Apprentice Bridge

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Labor Day began in the late 19th century when trade unionists proposed to set aside a day each year to celebrate the work of laborers.

I recently founded a non-profit organization called Apprentice Bridge that initially aims to improve the current labor force by assisting with the transportation needs of apprentices in skilled trades who are in the training phase of their careers. The non-profit seeks to “bridge” the transportation gap for those training in skilled trades to overcome a huge barrier to their success.


An additional fundamental design of Apprentice Bridge is to provide Lithium-ion batteries powered for residential housing for low and middle-income neighborhoods. Specifically, Apprentice Bridge intends to establish a new infrastructure for materials development.

However, equipping our next-generation workforce with the tools and approaches necessary to achieve America’s national infrastructure-building goals will require stakeholders in government, academia and industry to embrace and to expand the scope and contents of the needed materials. Our non-profit’s first function is to provide transportation for students attending schools in Oakland County, Michigan, within the economically ailing metropolitan Detroit area, to reach job sites to attain their Tradesman Apprentice Cards.

The short-term goal is to purchase Ram ProMaster® Cargo Vans. The midterm goal is to arrange for drivers to transport the apprentices, as well as to coordinate student job scheduling utilizing a telephone answering and calendar service. The long-term goal is to attach a 28-inch Global Positioning System (GPS) dome onto the cargo vans and utilize blockchain technologies and geospatial engineering to monitor and track the vehicle to indemnify privacy and security.

Blockchain enhances security of the vehicles through a shared next-generation database that uses cryptography and hosts all the computers that participate in each network. The technology also provides a record of ownership for any asset put into the database and every single transaction involving that asset.


Apprentice Bridge is using technology such as OPTIS' optical sensor and closed-loop, real-time multiphysics simulation with physics-based visualization software. An encrypted distributed ledger application will help to synchronize blockchain data to a centralized database. Geospatial technology refers to all of the technology used to acquire, manipulate and store geographic information. Cloud technologies also will be key to the project.

Equipping people with knowledge, skills and tools to stay competitive and engaged is what produces results. Unfortunately, American high school students are not learning key skills in manufacturing, including engineering simulation, that is used in construction. 

Our schools used to be world leaders in educating our youth. Sadly, many students now graduate from U.S. high schools without basic math and reading skills.

Bridge Apprentice seeks to help young people in the Detroit metropolitan area that we serve who are without transportation to trade schools and their job sites. Transportation is a huge obstacle to acquiring apprentice cards for many of our youth who therefore are unable to join the workforce and become contributing members of society.

Regrettably, many opportunities are going to the youth in other countries because our young people are not properly trained and educated. Poverty rates vary from state to state. According to the latest American Community Survey, Michigan's poverty rate of 15 percent puts it well above the national poverty rate of 12.7 percent and 36th in the nation. In 2016, the U.S. poverty line was $24,250 for a family of four.


In searching for a solution, education and skills clearly can have a nationwide impact with American youth learning skilled trades to reverse the poverty that that limited the prospects of so many of them. Apprentice Bridge will provide inter organizational linkages through affiliations of our board of directors to the local chamber of commerce with the hope of linking the organization to the business community in the area. 

Registered Apprenticeship programs create a pipeline of skilled workers to meet the talent needs of businesses. Successful apprenticeship strategies are created and sustained through strong partnerships among businesses, workforce organizations, educational institutions and other community organizations. 

Apprentice Bridge intends to help lift people economically by enhancing the training of the labor force in this country through private-sector efforts. For now, Apprentice Bridge is starting in Michigan but the plan is to take the program nationwide.

Bret Michael Carpenter is founder/chairman of Apprentice Bridge, which also does business as the Nautic Scepter Organization, to provide transportation and other assistance to help young people to gain training to become skilled tradesmen. Rather than seek government assistance, Carpenter is championing a private sector solution to help young people obtain the skills and education they need to become employable to achieve their version of the American Dream.


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