ESCANABA — Governor Rick Snyder continued his week long visit to the Upper Peninsula today in Delta County with a tour of Bay College.

Governor Snyder was very impressed with the classes and programs that are being offered at Bay College. “These are great career opportunities and we’re trying to encourage more Michiganders to go into them. These are great well-paying jobs and part of it is we need great training programs,” said Gov. Rick Snyder.

That’s exactly what’s going on these days at Bay College in Escanaba. Two years ago, Governor Snyder came up with the Community College Skilled Trades Education Program, or CSTEP, in an effort to get more students hands on training and real-world experience.

“This industry has become so technological,” said Cory Larson, the Water Resource Management Instructor at Bay College. “There’s so much technology going on with all the new regulations in place. When they’re done, they are ready to enter the workforce.”

Eighteen community colleges across the state competed for fifty million dollars in funding. Bay College received a million dollars, and they invested that money into upgrading equipment for the welding, Mechatronics, EMT and Water Resource Management Programs.

“I was really interested to hear about the water program,” said Steve Arwood, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “It’s one of the only ones like it in the country, one of the oldest in the country, with a 100% job placement rate and starting wages that are well above the regional average.”

“We need more water system operators, said Gov. Snyder. “Obviously we’ve had challenges in Flint, but this is an issue around the country. We need more operators and one of the best programs in the country is right here. I encourage more students, more people to look at that as an opportunity.”

According to Larson, at least half of the current workforce in Water Resource Management is getting set to retire in the next three to five years, which will increase the demand for workers in the field even more. “There are tons of jobs in this industry,” said Larson. “You just have to come and get the training, get the credentials so you can get into the workforce.”

“People need to understand if you want to be in manufacturing today, it’s not an unskilled job. It’s industrial automation, its robotics,” said Snyder. “They can do certification programs, continuing education and give people training they can go right to work on. Those are all real exciting things.”

Exciting for sure.