CCISD, voters built CTE program, students coming

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Shawn Kolbus, career and technical education director for the Copper Country Intermediate School District, and CCISD superintendent George Stockero speak at Wednesday’s Keweenaw Alliance breakfast.

ere enrolled in the Copper Country Intermediate School District’s career and technical education courses. Next year’s enrollment is projected at 323.

“We obviously built what was needed, and kids are taking advantage of it,” CCISD superintendent George Stockero said.

Stockero and CTE director Shawn Kolbus outlined the strides the program has made during a presentation to the Keweenaw Alliance Breakfast Wednesday.

New programs this year are early childhood education in conjunction with Gogebic Community College, cybersecurity networking at Michigan Technological University, culinary arts at the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College, and welding-manufacturing and construction training at the CCISD Tech Center.

With the culinary program, the CCISD partnered with the Ojibwa Casino and its food service program. Two students were able to get certified through the Safe Serve program.

“We’re always looking to get into certifications wherever we can,” Kolbus said.

In the construction program, projects have included a tiny house. Local contractors have worked with the students, including AireCare, which helped with wiring inside the tiny house, and DP Construction, which won the bid to build a new bus garage for the ISD.

“They’ve already come in to talk to our kids and they showed them the building plans, and talked about the bidding process,” Stockero said.

The program will grow to a second class next year.

Cybersecurity class includes volunteering students from Tech’s program. Activities have included “red team vs. blue team” activities, in which one team tried to breach the defenses set up by the other.

On the early childhood development classes, students go into preschools such as B-H-K Child Development and work with them.

“This one has really sparked interest,” said Stockero, who noted next year’s enrollment in expected to grow from 20 to this year’s nine.

One student already received another job offer. Just as important, Stockero said, was the student who took it and decided the career wasn’t for her.

“I want kids to explore, and hopefully find their passion,” he said. “But if they don’t, hey, that’s good, too. They didn’t waste time doing that.”

The welding-manufacturing class is able to certify children on-site; so far 30 children have earned certifications, some multiple.

Local manufacturers have also approached the ISD to teach classes for them. In July, the ISD will begin teaching adult classes for the community.

Coming next year is a marketing-graphics intership with Finlandia University.

Tuesday was the ISD’s first student showcase, in which 18 students showed off their certifications and projects to 25 to 30 local manufacturers.

“Our manufacturers were fighting over the kids,” Stockero said. “They wanted to know, ‘Hey, come work with me, work with me.'”