Talent tours offer inside career looks

Katrice Perkins/ Daily Mining Gazette Scott Bukovich, service manager for Keweenaw Automotive, speaks with automotive tech students Tuesday during a talent tour held by the Copper Country Intermediate School District and Michigan Works!

Copper Country Intermediate School District and Michigan Works! teamed up this week to offer “talent tours” for the students in the automotive technology and certified nursing assistant (CNA) Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes.

The purpose of the tours is to allow the students to see different workplaces in their respective fields and for them to ask questions and learn.

“Michigan Works is trying to work with the school districts in getting these kids out to see real-world stuff,” said Dale Verran, Michigan Works! business services consultant.

The CNA students visited the Omega House, Eisenhower Center, UP Health System – Portage, Aspirus Keweenaw and the Lighthouse at Hancock and Hubbell.

The automotive class visited Northern Auto, Keweenaw Automotive, Keweenaw Chevrolet, Copper Country Ford and Houghton Powersports.

“We’re trying to show those students what’s available. We wanted to give them a variety,” said Verran.

He explained that every place is different, and the students can learn and see new and different things at each place.

“We want to show them they can stay in this area. They can know what these employers are looking for so they’re ready to enter the world when they graduate,” said Verran.

The tours have been held during January. The last ones are on Jan. 31 for the CNA class and Jan. 25 for the automotive class.

Once done with the class, the students will have the ability to take the respective state test to qualify them to work in the field.

CNA student Jordyn Rowe said her favorite place they toured was the lighthouse.

“I like the Lighthouse, because I want to work in a hospital and it gives you that feeling,” said Rowe.

CNA instructor Lorie Maki said the classes are important because once students have passed the state tests, they have many career opportunities. They can use those skills after high school.

“It’s helpful because they can work part-time while in college and help with the expenses,” said Maki.

The goal for the instructors is to educate the students and show them the endless possibilities.

“Ultimately we want these students to pursue an education in some type of health care profession, and once they receive that education they will come back to our area and be health care providers,” said Maki.