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SPOTLIGHT: John Perkins, Apprentice


John Perkins insists that the work he’s doing on the Detroit Events Center is more than a job—it’s a way to thank his father for teaching him the value of hard work.

Perkins, a 22-year-old Detroit resident, has helped build the nearly 40-foot tall foundation wall around the arena as a carpenter’s apprentice since the project began last year.

In his first year as an apprentice with Toole’s Contracting, the Detroit-based company installing nearly 46,000 cubic yards of concrete for the arena’s foundation and floor slabs, Perkins has learned a lot about the trade and about himself.

“Carpentry is a passion it’s not just a job for me,” said Perkins. “I come to work every day looking to learn new things. I’m here to learn and be well-rounded in what I do.”

Perkins landed on the Detroit Events Center project after learning from a friend about a pre-apprentice program known as Access For All—which readies people interested in the trades to take on a career in the construction industry.

After completing a nine-week program, Perkins was called on for the new arena project.

Perkins said he learned about residential construction from his late-father, a self-employed carpenter—a man who literally built a home for his wife and four children while in his late 70s. It was then that Perkins knew he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps.

“I’m blessed to be here,” said Perkins. “I feel like my dad is smiling down on me right now. It feels good to be here. It doesn’t feel like I’m at work. I feel like I’m home.”

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