Michigan prisoners have a new opportunity to train for a career thanks to a first-of-its-kind program being offered which trains prisoners to become skilled tree trimmers to keep trees away from power lines.

DTE announced the new program which was formed through a partnership between the Michigan Department of Corrections and DTE.

The program aims to help with DTE's shortage of tree trimmers and the high unemployment rate (60 percent) faced by those released from prison.

The first class of 24 tree trimmers began on June 10. They will finish their training in the next 6 - 9 months. While in the program, students learn to safely climb trees, use tree trim equipment and they obtain a Commercial Driver's License.

After being released on parole, students who have completed the tree trimming program are eligible to join the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 17 Union and fill an open role with a local tree trim supplier.

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