Committee meets to discuss technical education in the U.P.

A group of education professionals met today in Marquette to discuss how to help promote technical education to area students.

The Career Technical Education Committee of Marquette and Alger Counties is a group dedicated to increasing and promoting opportunities for students to explore C.T.E. fields such as welding, healthcare, and automotive technology.
The group also promotes flexibility in the education curriculum to allow students more inclined to enter a C.T.E. field to gain knowledge and experience from a young age.

“When kids start looking for a career, they really should start in middle school to at least get some ideas, you know, and it’s (as) important to find out the things that maybe they don’t want to do that it is to find the things they do want to do,” said CTE Committee chairman Stu Bradley. “So, let’s say a kid might be interested in welding, and he goes out and practices welding, and says, ‘whoa, that’s not for me.’ That’s probably as important as finding welding the perfect career, because that’s eliminating one more thing and heading them down on a path where they really will find a job that they enjoy.”

The efforts of the Marquette–Alger group reflect a state–wide impetus to reduce the talent gap among those entering the job market.

“One of the things that we’re learning, especially from forums like the Governor’s Economic Summit, is that there are certain careers that are in high demand,” said Dave Nyberg, Director of Governor Rick Snyder’s Northern Michigan Office, “and a lot of those careers are career and technical education, a lot of them are focused on the S.T.E.M. fields – science, technology, engineering, and math. These are the types of careers that employers don’t…they’re not finding the right numbers and the right types of trained professionals to take on those jobs that are in demand, and in order for those industries to grow, we need to make sure that we’re matching talent supply with demand.”

Discussions at the meeting included Middle College education programs and alternative education methods such as the successful Construction Geometry class currently offered by Ishpeming High School.