Tight Knit™ is a series about the many ways people are working to build stronger relationships and communities.

Season 2 follows teens and adults as they navigate the various pathways that can lead to good jobs and careers, and the systems that can support or impede their success.

Centered in Southeast Michigan and Western New York, Tight Knit™ shares multifaceted stories of our workforce system, from reviving high school career tech education to growing industries, career paths to policies, personal goals to employer needs and beyond. This is a series about our access to work and its influence on our world.

Brought to you by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and produced in partnership with WDET, the eight-episode podcast will be released in installments over the course of Summer 2023.


Listen to the Tight Knit™ podcast series on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
The Workforce Pipeline

Episode 01:The Workforce Pipeline

Episode one sets the stage for this season of Tight Knit: Workforce Development.We start out by defining workforce development and job training, drawing a line to connect the concepts of career, job, education and the American dream of fulfillment.

Listen to Podcast Episode
Get Your Education!

Episode 02:Get Your Education!

This week we look at how public education helps the workforce, and we talk to one teenager who loves shop class at Detroit’s Randolph Career and Technical Center, and to Dean Don Hutchison at Macomb Community College who had a bumpy road after high school.

Coming Soon

Manufacturing in a New Era

Episode 03:Manufacturing in a New Era

At Buffalo’s Northland Workforce Training Center on Buffalo’s Eastside, men and women are finding new careers in advanced manufacturing. The center’s programs help to fill a skilled trades workforce gap in Western New York. In Detroit, Sarah Gregory with Detroit Regional Partnership explains how they draw business to Southeastern Michigan.

Coming Soon

Jump Starting Careers in Construction and Beyond

Episode 04:Jump Starting Careers
in Construction and Beyond

Take a deeper look at how workforce development programs, government, and businesses cooperate to keep workers and build economic opportunity. This episode also explores financial risks of these changes and the impacts on communities at large.

Coming Soon

An Electric Future for Gen Z

Episode 05:An Electric Future for Gen Z

Businesses are being pushed to change their hiring and retention policies now more than ever. Using growth industries, particularly electric vehicles (Southeast Michigan) and health care (Western New York), this episode addresses policy proposals and workforce pilot projects across regions. This leads to uncovering a shortage of new workers, which prompts employers to reconsider who they hire and how they hire.

Coming Soon

Fool Me Once...

Episode 06:Fool Me Once…

Industries have risen before, but will they fall? Will they leave workers behind as they did years before? In episode six, we shine a light on programs potentially creating new socioeconomic divisions or undermining democracy. We explore how younger generations see this impacting them socioeconomically and racially.

Coming Soon

Not Just a Job, a Career.

Episode 07:Not Just a Job, a Career.

Don Hutchison returns to talk about limitations of job training, the continuum of work and career. As the trades & construction industries expand, some employers shy away from apprenticeship programs and unions try to appeal to underrepresented communities. Is this the time in which we can reduce socioeconomic and racial divisions?

Coming Soon

No One Has a Crystal Ball.

Episode 08:No One Has a Crystal Ball.

In our final episode of this award winning, we return to the future of job training and traditional education in America.

Coming Soon

About the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a grantmaking organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York, through its giving in four focus areas – active lifestyles, caregivers, entrepreneurship and economic development, and preparing for success. The two geographic regions reflect Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.’s devotion to his hometown of Detroit and greater Buffalo, home of his Buffalo Bills franchise. Prior to his passing in 2014, Mr. Wilson requested that a significant share of his estate be used to continue a life-long generosity of spirit by funding the Foundation that bears his name. The Foundation has a grantmaking capacity of $1.2 billion over a 20-year period, which expires January 8, 2035. This structure is consistent with Mr. Wilson’s desire for the Foundation’s impact to be immediate, substantial, measurable and overseen by those who knew him best.

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