Moran Iron Works: Training Skilled Workers in Northern Michigan

During Monday’s visit to Northern Michigan, LG Calley visited Moran Iron Works and learned about skilled trades needs in Michigan and how the company is taking meeting those needs into their own hands.

Moran Iron Works was started by a young Tom Moran in 1978, right after he graduated high school. Today, it is a national leader in custom fabrication that specializes in power, marine and other industrial fields. You may have heard of Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry, which has been connecting the island and peninsulas since 1945. Recently they added a new boat to the fleet, 85 foot Miss Margy, which was designed and created by Moran Iron works.

In its 38 years, Moran has had to expand its facilities in Onaway 29 times thanks to great success. With that success came the need to hire more skilled workers, which became a challenge for the company.

To get the talent they needed, they began a small welding training program on-site and hired workers after they completed 16 weeks of training. When the need became even greater, Moran Iron Works took their training efforts one step further.

Tom and Marilyn Moran created the Industrial Arts Institute, which provides comprehensive training for careers in trade through a 3.5 month full-time training program, where students can earn 24 different welding certifications that will make them in-demand for jobs across Michigan and our country.

The Morans believe every piece of education is a step ladder, and so students spend most of their time engaging in hands-on projects with local businesses.

Most of the students come from Michigan, but there are a few out-of-staters as the LG Calley saw during his tour.

The success has been so great that the Morans have added new programs are being added to the curriculum including HVAC, plumbing, electrical and carpentry.

IAI Operations Manager Tammy Ward shows LG Calley one of the welding booths students use.

Having a strong, skilled workforce is important to a thriving economy and LG Calley thanks for the Moran Family for opening the Industrial Arts Institute to make sure our future has the skills they need for high-paying careers.

If you are interested in learning more or applying for the Institute visit

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