Welding middle college program coming to Negaunee

A Marquette County high school is looking into starting a middle college pilot program for students interested in welding.

The vocational program would allow welding students to spend five years in the program, with the fifth year being their first year in college.

The first year of college would be paid through the program, and students wouldn’t get diplomas until after the fifth year.

“This is an opportunity for some maybe first-time college students that may not be planning on going to college but are in a vocational program to end up with a certificate from Northern–a welding certificate that will allow them to go into the workforce or allow them to go into a second year and get an associate’s degree at Northern and reduce that cost for them and their families,” Negaunee Public Schools outgoing superintendent Jim Derocher said.

Classes would be taken at Negaunee High School, taught by the high school’s teachers who are adjunct faculty with Northern Michigan University.

Then, by the fifth year of the program, students will take all classes at NMU.

“It’s an opportunity for the school district to extend to some students–now not all, just some students that are interested in going into vocational welding and welding as their career to begin that without taking on added cost for college courses,” Derocher said.

The program is slated to begin this August, with student interviews to begin this summer.

Marquette Senior High School is also planning on implementing a similar program.