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Career & Technical Education update 2020

In August 2017, Copper Country voters passed a Career & Technical Education millage. At that time, I promised to give the public an annual update of what we are accomplishing with those millage dollars. The most important statistic is the number of students who are participating in CTE programs.

When I became the CCISD superintendent seven years ago, we had a total of 119 students participating in CTE programs. Today, we have 392 students signed up to take CTE classes in the fall. I believe there are two major reasons for the continued growth in numbers. The first is that the CCISD brings in every sophomore in our local schools to tour each CTE class in the location where it is held. These students visit the Career Tech Center in Hancock, as well as the classes held on the campuses of Michigan Tech, Finlandia, GCC and KBOIC[a]. They also visit the class held at Canal View. The other major reason for enrollment increase comes from the students themselves. Current and former students share success stories. They tell their siblings and younger classmates how much they enjoy their CTE class.

One of our recent success stories was our Tiny House that was built by our Construction class. This was a two year project that turned out great. In July the Tiny House was displayed and the community could bid on the house. The news media did a great job publicizing stories on the Tiny House. It was so successful that the Associated Press picked up the story and it was seen all over the United States. Our local legislators also sent their praises for the project. We had many people tour the Tiny House in preparation for bidding. On July 31, the CCISD received sealed bids and the Tiny House was sold. I want to thank the media for all their coverage.

I am very appreciative for all the help from our local community members with CTE. I want to thank Dave Dow from Dave’s BP for providing his tow trucks to help move the Tiny House. Our welding teacher has received scrap metal from a great many businesses. Many businesses open their doors to allow tours for our students. Many businesses allow our students to complete clinical rotations and provide valuable experiences for our students. Every one of our CTE classes has an advisory board made up of local leaders in their fields that help provide direction in what is taught in the class. Many individuals and community groups provide scholarships for CTE students to continue their education past high school. As you can see, the community has been a driving force in the success of CTE.

Last school year we added a new successful CTE class called Graphics and Marketing. This year we are adding a new class called Mechatronics. This class filled up instantly. Besides these two new classes, we still have Construction, Welding, Health Careers, Nurse Aide, Early Childhood, Auto Tech, and Cyber Security in Houghton County, in which many Baraga County students also participate. In Baraga County, we have Construction, Machine Tool, Health Careers, Accounting and Culinary.

As you can see by this update, our community’s investment in the Career & Technical Education millage continues to provide huge dividends for our students and our community as a whole.

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