MARQUETTE — Career Technical Education of Marquette and Alger Counties held a meeting Wednesday afternoon at the Marquette–Alger RESA, and everyone was there for one common goal.

“We had about 35 people representing 30 organizations from Marquette and Alger County, politicians and educators and a whole bunch of other people working together to try to help kids out of high school with a good job,” said Stu Bradley, Chair of CTE-Marquette and Alger Counties. “Not necessarily a 4–year degree, maybe it’s a 1–year certificate, maybe they’re welding or fixing cars, but it’s a career they can go to and stay locally if they want or go to Chicago.”

Throughout the meeting, they touched on several different topics such as Internships, Middle College, and Industry Afterhours, and there were even legislative updates given from staff members of elected officials at both state and national levels.

One of the bigger topics that was discussed was the Marshall Plan, where almost 4 million dollars from the state to use with the education system in the central Upper Peninsula.

“And not only money, it’s brought a whole bunch of different people together, working together creatively, with some great ideas that are going to benefit the kids leaving high school and into college too,” Bradley said. “Michigan Tech, Northern, and Bay College are all involved in this thing, probably 14 or 15 different school districts, probably 40 or 50 different businesses… Just a whole lot of people finally realizing they can get together and get a lot of stuff accomplished.”

With the help of the Marshall Plan, they have created these partnerships to work in two sections, a Cyber Security Consortium and a Manufacturing Consortium, with the hopes that students will want to continue in these fields after high school.

This leads to another issue that was discussed at the meeting: the low number of students training or learning about going into the trades and those career paths that are available to them. In some fields, such has HVAC, the numbers are so low that the field will struggle to hire people in just a short time.

“Heating and air conditioning folks, they’re going to have almost a million jobs that are going to be open in the next 5 years, because the workforce is averaging at least 50 years old or higher,” said Bradley. “More people are leaving than coming in and it’s a very well paying job, a lot of it is indoors, and very high skilled. I’ve even gone out and talked to 3 or 4 different plumbing companies in Marquette or Alger counties and every one of them would hire someone if they walked in the door at that time.”

To find out more about CTE-Marquette and Alger Counties, click here.