New era in local skilled-trade education dawning

HANCOCK — The newly renovated Career and Technology Education Center for the Copper Country Intermediate School District (CCISD) is nearly ready for students, CTE Director Shawn Kolbus reported at Tuesday night’s CCISD board meeting.

“Those kids are going to be so lucky to have a facility like this,” he said.

According to Kolbus, installation of electrical outlets for the new welders, a little painting, fire inspection and signage are among the last few things to be done.

Some of these projects are behind schedule, he said, but work is being completed as quickly as possible.

“It’s construction. There’s always delays. What are you going to do?” Kolbus said.

More than 300 students are enrolled for classes at the new center for the fall, according to CCISD Superintendent George Stockero, about double what were enrolled when he was hired as superintendent.

A couple of the courses being offered are underfilled with students, but no classes will be canceled.

“Everything we said we were going to run, we’re running,” Stockero said.

Because of difficulty finding available facilities, the culinary course will only be offered in Baraga, and because of enrollment numbers, the construction trades class will only be offered in the new CTE center.

Michigan Technological University (MTU) donated two of its older-model vehicles to the CTE automotive technology class.

Kolbus, who retired recently from Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District (GOISD), was also confirmed by the board to continue as the CTE director in part-time capacity.

He’s been working in the role for three years in a contract between CCISD and GOISD, so he’s already familiar with the duties of the job.

Kolbus says he’s excited to keep working for the community.

“Really, that’s what it’s all about,” he said.