High interest in local labor market needs

HANCOCK — After a trade show career day hosted by the Copper Country Intermediate School District, Superintendent George Stockero decided 10 months ago to survey local businesses regarding their future work-related needs.

While the survey was being conducted, Stockero and CTE Director Shawn Kolbus designed presentations to take to the community.

“Way back in March of last year, Shawn  and I had started to do presentations,” Stockero told the CCISD board at a recent meeting, “and we have met with literally hundreds of people and different organizations.”

During the past 10 months, Stockero and Kolbus have had conducted 23 separate meetings and provided presentations that described the CCISD’s current CTE programs, along with the incoming results of the business surveys. They also provided real testimonies of young adults from the community who spoke highly of the current CTE programs and how they have impacted their lives. Finally, during the meetings, Stockero and Kolbus sought feedback from the groups on their thoughts and feelings regarding CTE and its future. There was overwhelming support for CTE, Stockero said.

“We did three real big meetings with businesses and community leaders; one in L’Anse, one in Hancock, and one up in Calumet,” Stockero said.

A steering committee was then formed of interested people who had attended previous meetings, and the committee met last Monday night.

“The room was packed. We had over 30 people, everybody showed up. I had people from L’Anse, Hancock, Houghton, Calumet. There were people from everywhere,” Stockero said.

The steering committee members represent a wide array of industries and agencies, Stockero said. The committee consists of representatives from logging, banking, education, engineering, manufacturing, township supervisors, city managers, health care workers, members of Michigan Works! and the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region (WUPPDR).

CCISD board member Bob Loukus attended the Steering Committee meeting and was impressed by what he saw and heard.

“The fact that over 30 people from the south to the north have joined together to support the initiative to keep and further enhance CTE demonstrates the community’s need for a strong CTE program in the Copper Country,” Loukus said. “The students of the Copper Country are our future, and we need to invest in their future.”