Career and technical education (CTE) can prepare youth and adults for a wide range of high-demand, high-skill and relatively high-wage occupations. It emphasizes hands-on learning to develop practical skills and creative thinking that can serve as a pathway to college education or an apprenticeship en route to gainful employment. CTE benefits employers by producing a skilled workforce, which in turn yields big returns for regional and state economies. Related careers include business, construction, health science, hospitality, information technology and manufacturing.
A committee representing Marquette and Alger Counties is promoting the availability and value of all regional technical training opportunities in a special publication coming out in early February, National Career and Technical Education Month. It will include salary potential, employment outlook and other information unique to each field.
“This master list will help students make the best possible career decisions,” said Stu Bradley, chair of the local CTE committee. “We have more than 30 businesses and organizations listed on our sponsor page that see the need to have more men and women trained in technical career areas. Many of our sponsors have job openings today and can’t find qualified applicants. The publication will be a great resource for students to help plan their education and training needs.”
CTE offers multiple benefits. High school students who enroll in courses with real-world relevance tend to be more engaged, perform better academically and graduate at higher rates, according to the national Association of CTE. They also can earn free college credits and participate in the Marquette-Alger Technical Middle College, which leads to a technical certificate from Northern Michigan University. Eagle Mine recently announced a $250,000 contribution over three years to the regional Middle College, with the potential for continued support (Eagle sent a related release on this).
At the college level, NMU students are trained by instructors who keep pace with the latest developments in their fields and can obtain the required credentials for a promising career in one to four years.
Another option is local apprenticeship programs. They vary from three to five years, depending on the trade, and provide students with classroom instruction and pay while they learn on the job.
The local CTE awareness effort is a collaboration involving Northern Michigan University, Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Service Agency (MARESA), the Upper Peninsula Construction Council and Lake Superior Community Partnership (LSCP). The group’s publication will be inserted in the Feb. 5 Mining Journal and distributed to U.P. high schools. It also will be available at NMU’s Jacobetti Complex, MARESA, LSCP and sponsoring businesses.
NMU will showcase many of its CTE program areas—from automotive service and aviation maintenance to mechanical engineering and welding—at an open house on Wednesday, Feb. 11. The event is scheduled from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the Jacobetti Complex. Prospective students can tour the facility/labs, register for a $500 NMU scholarship, sample food prepared by culinary students, and talk with faculty and current students. For more information, call 227-2103. -30-
Prepared by Kristi Evans. For more information, contact Stu Bradley at 906-255-3041.