Career & Technical Education (CTE) update

In the summer of 2017 the Copper Country ISD asked the voters of Baraga, Houghton and Keweenaw Counties to pass a millage to support and grow Career and Technical Education (CTE). As you likely know, the millage passed overwhelmingly by a two-to-one margin. I feel it is important, once a year, to let the public know what we have been able to provide our local students and community as a whole through the CTE millage.

When I first became the superintendent in 2014, we had 119 students taking CTE classes. This was mostly due to the cost of tuition and the choices available. Last year our enrollment was up to 266. I am happy to report that for the 2019-20 school year, we have 326 students enrolled in a CTE class run by the Copper Country ISD. As these enrollment numbers show, the CTE millage was a great investment that our local students have taken advantage of.

There is also huge benefit to our local schools. Now that local schools no longer have to pay tuition for their students to enroll in CTE classes, they get to keep a combined $755,342 in State Aid that they can use to reinvest into their own districts.

Students have many CTE classes to choose from. In Houghton County, we have classes in Health Careers, Certified Nursing Assistant, Auto Tech, Welding/Manufacturing, Construction, Early Childhood, Cybersecurity/Computer Networking and new this year, Computer Graphics/Marketing. These classes are also available to Baraga County students who are bussed to these classes by their schools. Additionally, in Baraga County, we offer classes in Construction, Health Careers, Machining, Accounting and Culinary Arts.

We have worked to make sure that local students are aware of what is offered. Last year, we hosted every sophomore and junior from local schools to tour our classes. Students had the opportunity to visit the classrooms and labs, meet with the teachers, and ask questions. This was an important experience that helped in the continued growth in CTE enrollment. We plan to provide a tour every year going forward.

We have also made promotional videos of all our CTE classes, which local schools can share with younger students to pique their curiosity before they take tours. These videos are on the CCISD website at https://www.copperisd.org/career-technical-education/ I invite you to take a look at these videos to see all that we provide our students. In these videos you will hear from our instructors and former students about what goes on in class and how much the class meant to them. It is truly heartwarming to hear what students have had to say about their experiences.

Finally, the CTE millage has also benefitted the broader public. Last year a group of manufacturers approached us to ask if we could provide training to their employees in the areas of welding and machining. Since last March, we have run five 9-week classes and provided training to 40 employees. We also ran a summer day camp in welding and auto tech for middle school students and received great feedback on its success.

The Copper Country ISD is very appreciative of the community’s support of the CTE millage. By giving you a yearly update, we hope we are providing information that shows that this investment was worthy of your support.