Vocational education issues addressed

Many people in Michigan are realizing that the path to a high–paying career does not automatically mean a four–year college degree.

Skilled workers are leaving technical trades as they retire, without enough young people coming in to succeed them.

Education and business leaders from the Marquette and Alger County areas recently formed an informal committee to address the problem.

“We’re looking out for the welfare of a whole bunch of kids in our Marquette and Alger counties, to try to give them the right type of training that will help them in the long term,” Chairman of the Technical Education Committee Stu Bradley said.  “And we think an awful lot of kids ought to be involved in career technical training.”

The group briefed Senator Carl Levin’s regional representative Wednesday about what it is up to.  It is in the early stages of planning a technical middle college.

“It’s basically a five year commitment by students and their parents to a high school model that upon graduation they’ll not only receive a diploma, (but) they’ll have their associate’s degree from a community college–in our case, Northern Michigan University,” member of the Technical Education Committee Brian Saravello said.

Committee members also met with U.P. auto dealers.  They were discussing a possible future partnership with automotive tech programs at high schools and at NMU.