Annual breakfast honors students and highlights importance of Career Technical Education

The world of work is changing; industries are adapting to new economies, new jobs are appearing, old jobs are disappearing and required skills are evolving. What does this mean for young people? To put it simply, they need to be better prepared for work than any previous generation. This shift is pushing educators to try new concepts and pursue different teaching strategies that prioritize experiential learning. One strategy in particular has been extremely effective in getting students ready to join the workforce, and that’s Career Technical Education (CTE).

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By definition, CTE is an educational option that provides learners with the knowledge and skills they need to be prepared for college, careers and lifelong learning. It gives purpose to learning by emphasizing real-world skills and practical knowledge within a selected career focus.

Here in Macomb County, CTE has had a tremendous impact on the school district, one that was highlighted on Friday, February 1 at the 29th annual Macomb Career Technical Education Administrators Association Awards. The event saw leaders from the Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD), business and government gather to celebrate the success of local CTE programs and the students that excel in them. In all, 42 students were recognized for their involvement in a variety of CTE programs, including culinary arts, marketing, business, health, education, design, engineering and machining.

Businesses that volunteer their time supporting the students and providing real-world experiences were honored as well (a full list of these businesses and students can be found at the end of this article). For instance, Tom and Krista Barr, co-owners of TK Mold and Engineering, were recognized for working with Romeo High School and Macomb Community College to find and train young talent; a strategy that has paid off for the organization. In fact, half of TK Mold’s 20 employees are 19 to 25 years old – a remarkable statistic in an industry largely comprised of retirement age workers.

Shannon Williams, CTE regional administrator for the MISD, spoke about this and several other compelling facts proving the benefits of CTE during the breakfast:

CTE works for students

  • Taking one CTE class for every two academic classes minimizes the risk of students dropping out of high school. (National Research Center)
  • The average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 93 percent, compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 80 percent. (U.S. Department of Education)
  • Ninety-one percent of high school graduates who earned two to three CTE credits enrolled in college. (U.S. Department of Education)

CTE works for business

  • CTE addresses the needs of industries and helps close the skills gap. We know this because:
    • Half of all STEM jobs call for workers with less than a bachelor’s degree. (Rothwell, The Hidden STEM Economy)
    • Health care occupations are projected to grow 18 percent by 2026, adding more than 2 million new jobs. (U.S. Department of Labor)
    • Three million workers will be needed for the nation’s infrastructure in the next decade, including designing, building and operating transportation, housing, utilities and telecommunications. (Brookings Institute)
    • More than 80 percent of manufacturers report that talent shortages will impact their ability to meet customer demand. (Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute)

This all makes CTE a popular and important option in Macomb and it’s why there are 237 state-approved CTE programs, 34 program areas and 34 operating buildings in the county. It’s also why more than 14,000 students are enrolled, which makes Macomb the county with the highest CTE population in the state of Michigan. These numbers indicate a positive future for the region and its economy. And it certainly makes the case for why CTE matters and why we must celebrate it.

To learn more about CTE programming in Macomb County, visit http://misd.net/careerteched/index.html. And to view photos from the breakfast, click here.

Students and businesses recognized at the CTE breakfast:

New Haven Public Schools         
Emily Brohl, Taylor Gauthier
Sara Gibbons, Director of Engineering-Quikly; Vicki Dorazio, Cyber Security Consultant: TEALS, Microsoft Philanthropies

South Lake Schools
Nolan Girven; Virginia Goodrich
Nancy Lockhart, Axalta Coating Systems

Richmond Community Schools 
Erik Haack; Drew Reindel
Jeff White, Chief of EMS; Sara Glanville, Training Officer: Richmond Lenox EMS

Chippewa Valley Schools
Jessica Hetzel; Alexandra Pannemann
Joe Nieddu, Emerald Coast Building Company

Clintondale Public Schools
Tyron James, Jr.; Courtney Martin
Michael Salvatore, J’s Silkscreens

Lakeview Public Schools
Passion Lewis; Jacob Shue
Gary Nieman and Adam Specht, PLM World

Van Dyke Public Schools
Theresa Kraft; Ryan Weidner
Dan Meehan, Performance Machinery, LLC

Warren Consolidated Schools  
Noah DeWalt; Breeanna Robinson
Jason Klinesteker, South Park Welding

Warren Woods Public Schools 
Andre Vance; Gwendolyn Yang
Amaty Calhoun, Ceratizit Group

Fraser Public Schools    
Vincent Castillo; Michael Lemanski
Andrew Spiece, Tom Darga & John McPhee – Microsoft Philanthropies TEALS

Lake Shore Public Schools
Ali Abdul-Malik; Kyle Dreyer
Mark Denning, Denning & Associates

Romeo Community Schools
Kailee Billock; Michela Hein
Paul D’Angelo, WBRW TV

Armada Area Schools    
Tayor Chambers; Justin Herbert
Doug Schroeder, Masonry Solutions

Roseville Community Schools  
Carlos Fullerwood; Gabrielle Waderlow
Frank Devos, Frank Devos National Heating and Cooling

Eastpointe Public Schools
Jeffrey Rudolph; Carcia Young
Cardi DeMonaco, Michigan Court of Appeals

Macomb Community College   
Connor Clifford; Michael Pawlusiak
Tom & Krista Barr, TK Mold & Engineering, Inc.

Anchor Bay Schools       
Ken Barker; Angelica Bailey
Shannon McIntosh, Michigan Schools & Government Credit Union

Utica Community Schools
Anthony Salazar; Angel Sanders
John Ferrozzo, New Line Diamond and Granite

Fitzgerald Public Schools
Caylinn Higgins; Jacob Reiss
Jeffrey “JP” Skop, Athletico

L’Anse Creuse Public Schools    
Delano Williams; Griffyn Woodson
Tom Nahas, MadHabit Creative

Center Line Public Schools
Syeda Jamal; Laura McBride
Allison Biliti, Medstar Ambulance

 

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

How SME Prime and Center Line High School are working to address the skills gap in manufacturing

There’s a growing crisis within American industry. There aren’t enough prepared, qualified candidates available to fill crucial advanced manufacturing roles. Nearly 3.5 million jobs will be available over the next decade in manufacturing — but 2 million will remain unfilled due to the lack of skilled talent.

smeef.rgb.notaglineThe SME Education Foundation is working to address this growing talent gap with a unique solution: the SME PRIME® (Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education) schools initiative. SME PRIME focuses on building and developing a workforce talent pipeline by bringing together local industry, educators and communities.

On February 21, representatives from the SME Education Foundation, Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel, Center Line Public Schools Superintendent Eve Kaltz and others will discuss plans to bring the SME PRIME schools initiative to Center Line High School in Macomb County.

The Foundation’s mission focuses on inspiring, preparing and supporting young people in their pursuit of advanced manufacturing career pathways. Through SME PRIME, the Foundation establishes manufacturing education centers of excellence in high schools across the country working with the local manufacturing community to help with funding, mentoring and developing young people in their pursuit of career opportunity.

“We’re pleased with the progress and direction of our partnership. It’s a great opportunity to work with talented students – helping to guide them and expand their opportunities help them realize their potential.”

Mark White, President, Shape Corp.

Nationwide, the Foundation has built 46 SME PRIME schools in 22 states, with 8 schools in the state of Michigan. To date, SME PRIME has impacted over 50,000 students with 84 percent of students graduating from PRIME schools pursuing careers in manufacturing. Furthermore, 40 percent of those students entered the workforce directly, filling critical jobs, and the other 60 percent pursued higher education within STEM degree programs focused on manufacturing.

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To RSVP for the SME PRIME information session at Center Line High School on Thursday, February 21 or to learn how to get involved, please contact Sandy Wilton at swilton@sme.org or 313-316-3356.

Joshua Grossman is senior marketing specialist with SME, an association of professionals, educators and students committed to promoting and supporting the manufacturing industry.

Q/A with Gail Alpert, president of FIRST in Michigan

It is estimated that 65 percent of today’s kindergarteners will have job titles that do not currently exist. Many of these new roles will be related to STEM, so it is imperative that young people have opportunities to explore and become educated in these fields.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics is a program that does just that. Its mission is to inspire young people to become science and technology leaders by engaging them in mentor-based programs and competitions. These events challenge students to raise funds, design a brand, hone teamwork skills and build and program industrial-size robots that play difficult field games against like-minded program_gail_alpert.jpgcompetitors. According to FIRST, this is as close to real-world engineering as a student can get.

To learn more about this innovative program, the Macomb Business blog sat down with Gail Alpert, president of FIRST in Michigan, for a Q and A.

Q1: Business and government leaders here in Michigan are very much invested in workforce development and building the next generation of talent. FIRST Robotics and FIRST programming can be an important part of that process. Why is that the case?

A: FIRST is designed to entice high schools students to choose a career in engineering, technology and the skilled trades through the building of a robot with the help of industry mentors from sponsoring companies. Students have the chance to see the tremendous capabilities of their mentors and follow in their footsteps, while the mentors can hand pick the students that best fit their companies for internships and jobs early on, long before the students are recruited by other companies.

Q2: In addition to STEM skills, many FIRST Robotics students develop confidence and communication abilities. How does FIRST programming help young people in this capacity and why should that matter to businesses?

A: There is no better tool in the student’s tool box than learning how to communicate in an effective, concise way. You can have the best product in the world, but if you cannot articulate why it’s the best, or why it’s needed, it means nothing. FIRST students not only compete with their robots, but are interviewed by a group of Judges about their robot and their team as part of the competition.  They are extremely well spoken and confident after participating in FIRST.

Q3: With these sentiments in mind, why should businesses get involved with FIRST Robotics and how can they do so? And to clarify, can businesses without a STEM-focus help as well?

A: All types of companies are and can be involved in FIRST, because all companies can play a vital role on a FIRST team even if they don’t have a STEM focus. Each team functions like a small business taking a product from inception to market.  Aside from designing, building and fabricating the robot, the teams have to do marketing, fundraising, budgeting and outreach.  All companies have some type of expertise that teams can use. Additionally, companies use FIRST to identify leaders and develop leadership skills among their current workforce.

Getting involved is easy. Simply contact me at Gail.Alpert@gmail.com. The busy season for high school teams is January through April. The season ends with the World Competition at Cobo Center on April 25-27 with about 40,000 people in attendance.

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Q4: Can you share any anecdotes from businesses that got involved with FIRST Robotics? Did they have positive experiences?

A: FIRST is always a win-win for companies that get involved. Two great examples come to mind. The first was a student that was hired as an intern at a tier one automotive supplier in his junior year. The very first day on the job, the student was given a software program that was relatively new to the company.  His mentor told him to play around it with it.  After lunch, the mentor returned and asked him how he was coming. The FIRST student replied: “Take a look. I created a game out of it.” The mentor was stunned.

The second story is about a student that planned to go into business rather than engineering.  He interned during his freshman year of college at the company that sponsored his high school robotics team.  About 20 of us were there for a meeting. The intern was running the meeting and was absolutely phenomenal.

Q5: What’s next for FIRST in Michigan? Are there any new initiatives, partnerships or expansions in the pipeline?

A: We always have new initiatives on the horizon. This year, the state money available through the Marshall Plan is creating fantastic opportunities for collaboration between FIRST teams and companies as communities come up with inventive ways to grow the STEM workforce. At least two of the proposals that were chosen for Plan funding included partnerships with FIRST.

FIRST is also focused on expanding our programs all the way down to kindergarten. In fact, 78 school districts across Michigan currently run all 4 of our programs (high school, middle school, upper and lower elementary school.) This season we are piloting a Pre-K program as well. It’s never too early to foster interest in STEM!

Detroit has been a huge focus for several years as we work to give every student in the city the opportunity to participate. Nearly every high school in Detroit has a FIRST team already, so we created a partnership with the Detroit Police Athletic League and Quicken Loans to start new teams at the middle school and elementary level. Ford, the FCA Foundation, the GM Foundation and Google are helping too. We are working with the Detroit Public Schools Community District to put FIRST in all third grade classrooms.

Finally, the state grant for FIRST, created about 5 years ago, enabled us to expand FIRST to the smallest of school districts in the most remote areas of the state. We are working to make sure the new legislature understands just how critical this funding is to all of our teams and to the continued development of the STEM workforce.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

American Society of Employers to offer HR and leadership-focused classes in Macomb County

Continuing education is an important aspect of personal and professional growth; something that both employers and employees must invest in. This sentiment is especially relevant in the human resources field – as there are frequent changes in regulations and constant questions around new personnel issues. All told, HR professionals must be well-informed and trained to deal with the ever-evolving workplace and yearly courses offered by the American Society of Employers (ASE) can help them achieve this standing.

ase_logoASE, a not-for-profit employer association that serves as a source for information and support on all matters affecting employment, recently announced that it would expand the courses it offers into Macomb County. In partnership with Macomb County Planning and Economic Development, ASE will hold the below classes in Mount Clemens for HR professionals and business leaders.

And to note: As an introductory offer, they are offering member rates and an additional 10 percent discount now through March 15. To take advantage of this offer, enter discount code ‘TD10’ when registering.

  • Thursday, January 24, 2019 – 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
    Title: Contribution—Increasing Your Leadership Value
    Purpose:   To assist leaders in growth and development by clarifying areas they can control and influence, exploring career stages, and identifying personal strengths/opportunities.
    Objectives: The purpose of this training is to increase career progression, business results, and value to the organization by identifying and leveraging contribution value. Participants will complete a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®) assessment on seven competencies including leadership, communication, and decision-making prior to class date.
    Who should attend: Managers, team leads, supervisors, and individual contributors

Register for Contribution-Increasing Value for Greatest Impact

  • Thursday, February 28, 2019 – 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
    Title: Generations at Work: Bridging the Generation Gap
    Purpose: The purpose of this training is to help participants bridge the generation gap and create a respectful workplace to increase productivity, morale, and motivation.
    Objectives: This course will provide a better understanding of the generational differences in the workplace.  Participants will learn how to maximize relationships and build on strengths across generations to optimize effectiveness and productivity.
    Who should attend: Managers, team leads, supervisors, and individual contributors

Register for Generations at Work:  Bridging the Generation Gap

  • Thursday, March 28, 2019 – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Title: Supervisory Survival Skills
    Purpose: The purpose of this training is to help participants understand the role of a supervisor and identify skills needed to be successful.
    Objectives: This course will define the role and responsibilities of a supervisor.  Participants will practice techniques to develop relationships, deliver feedback, delegate, make decisions and conduct effective meetings.
    Who should attend: Individuals who are new to the field of supervision

Register for Supervisory Survival Skills

  • Thursday, May 2, 2019 – 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
    Title: Succession Planning for Leadership Positions
    Purpose: The purpose of this training is to discuss how to create an organized program for identifying and developing future leaders to fill senior and executive positions within an organization.
    Objectives: Participants will learn the important steps and receive tools that can be adapted to their workplace to create a documented approach for creating the leaders of tomorrow.
    Who should attend: HR managers

Register for Succession Planning for Leadership Positions

In addition to clicking the above links, interested individuals may also register by email at asetraining@aseonline.org or by calling 248-223-8041. Additional classes and events can be found on the ASE website.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

Local program to address employment gaps in advanced manufacturing industry

Macomb County and its neighboring regions have a rich history in both defense and automotive manufacturing.  But as new automation and robotics technology disrupt those sectors, the area’s economy has shifted from having a traditional blue collar workforce to a “new collar” workforce.  This shift in skillsets – from traditional manufacturing to high tech careers – has created a skills gap that further widens as the workforce chooses other career options outside of STEAM. If not addressed, this gap will create problems in production capabilities and all told, the effect on our economic well-being will be devastating.

pexels-photo-1216589To help fill this burgeoning skills gap, Macomb Community College is offering three advanced manufacturing programs in early 2019. The programs – controls technician, maintenance technician and robot technician – are designed to give participating students the training needed to enter the manufacturing industry with no previous experience necessary.

All three programs are noncredit and full time, featuring a combination of classroom education and hands-on experience. The programs run between three and four months long, depending on the focus. Those that successfully complete their program earn a certificate of completion from Macomb, an OSHA 10 card demonstrating the student meets certain OSHA requirements and certification from FANUC, a global supplier of factory automation.  Those that take the controls technician program will also have the opportunity to take the Siemens Mechatronics System Certification Program Level 1 exam. More than 300 employers have hired Macomb students who have successfully completed these programs.

An information session for the maintenance technician and robot technician programs will be held on Jan. 17 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Macomb Community College’s M-TEC (7900 Tank Avenue in Warren).  Those interested in the controls technician program should contact 586.498.4100 in advance of the information session.

The controls technician program will begin Jan. 28, maintenance technician on Feb. 18 and robot technician on March 11. Those who are unemployed may qualify for funding to assist with a portion or all of the cost of tuition. For more information and to register for the information session, go to Macomb.edu/infosession. For additional information on tuition assistance, call 586.498.4100 or email workforcedev@macomb.edu.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

Explore potential career paths with your child this holiday break

Students across Michigan are preparing for the annual winter break period; two weeks off from school where they can relax and recharge while celebrating the holidays. Many will spend the period hanging out with friends, binge watching Netflix and indulging in various sweet treats, but this year, there’s another activity that we advise young people and their parents pursuing. In recognition of December being Michigan Career and Exploration and Awareness Month, we are encouraging all families to discuss jobs and career pathways with their children.

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“It’s important students explore careers early and often,” Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan Interim Director Jeremy Hendges said. “This month is about highlighting the array of resources and opportunities to explore careers before students graduate from high school. But more than that, it’s an opportunity to bring those conversations about career exploration home from the classroom to the holiday dinner table so families and friends can share their experiences with their students, too.”

With more than 811,000 career openings across the state through 2024, Michigan is working to close the talent gap. State leaders believe that talent gap stems from a career awareness gap and counselors, educators, employers and parents all have a role in helping Michigan’s young people explore the hundreds of thousands of high-demand, high-wage careers available in the Great Lakes State.

“Too often, students leave high school without a plan for what’s next and are doing their career exploration in college,” Hendges added. “The more we can help students explore these opportunities earlier, the sooner we can close our talent gap and connect our young people with rewarding, great-paying careers here at home.”

To help parents and families with these conversations, we’ve pulled together several easy-to-use resources that can answer questions, facilitate dialogue and spark inspiration. They include:

  • Going-PRO.com: This one-stop online tool provides students and all Michiganders with information on the state’s most high-demand, high-wage career opportunities in the professional trades, including salaries and job growth data, ‘A Day in the Life’ series that highlights professionals in their careers and how they got there and local schools and training facilities to get started in a Professional Trades career.
  • Pathfinder: Students can roadmap their career path with the state’s Pathfinder tool that allows them to pick a career field and see, all at once, how to get there from training to full-time career.
  • CareerOneStop.org: Families can learn details about any occupation with this resource, including what you might do on the job, how much you might earn and how much education or training you might need.
  • MiTalent.org: Michigan Training Connect can assist students in making knowledgeable decisions concerning their professional future and career.
  • MiBrightFuture.org: This robust and easy-to-use online system provides Michigan students valuable exposure to the world of work through interactions with real-life professionals, both helping students identify how to get a job they care about and employers find the qualified talent they need.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook: The Bureau of Labor Statistics created the OOH to help young people find career information on duties, education and training, pay and outlook for hundreds of occupations.

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By using these resources this holiday season, parents can give their children a leg up when it comes to their future. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below and our Macomb County team would be happy to provide assistance.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

L’Anse Creuse-Pankow receives $1,000 from 2018 MFG Day video contest

Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel yesterday announced students from the L’Anse Creuse Frederick V. Pankow Center as the winners of the Manufacturing (MFG) Day 2018 Student Video Challenge. The contest, which coincided with the October 5 celebration of MFG Day in Macomb County, required participants to create a three minute video around the theme “Why should manufacturers get involved in Manufacturing Day?” It also asked for videos to highlight a MFG Day host site company, careers within that company and the overall student experience during the event.

MFG Day Video Challenge winners“We asked students to help us create a tool that would promote Manufacturing Day in the future,” said County Executive Hackel. “And the teams that submitted videos did an incredible job. It is clear that they are all talented individuals with bright futures ahead.”

Six videos were submitted by student teams for consideration in the MFG Day Video Challenge. All were reviewed by a panel of judges with experience in the film and video profession. The winner, a video produced by students from the L’Anse Creuse Frederick V. Pankow Center, received high marks for camera techniques, lighting, content, graphics and titles, editing and sound. The team featured Fori Automation as their video’s central focus and included interviews with company leaders and MFG Day attendees. It can be viewed in its entirety here.

“We were so impressed with the L’Anse Creuse Frederick V. Pankow Center team,” said Tom Nahas, a contest judge and owner of Mad Habit Creative. “These students took the competition directive and made it their own by adding creative elements and distinct production abilities to their final video. The end result was a professional and unique marketing tool that will support the county in its mission to make next year’s Manufacturing Day the biggest one yet.”

As the winner of the MFG Day challenge, the Pankow Center team received the contest’s grand prize – $1,000 awarded to their school and $50 in prepaid credit cards for each student participant. Winning students include:

  • Jacob Ashba
  • Jack Braithwaite
  • Lauren Bayless
  • Angel Delich

The team was mentored by Michael Kaufman, an instructor with the Pankow Center’s television and broadcast media CTE course offering. During the check presentation to the team, Kaufman noted that the prize money will be used for student experiences like field trips and student scholarships.

To view all the MFG Day Student Video Challenge entries, visit https://www.manufacturemyfuture.com/video-contest. (Pictured above from left to right: Michael Kaufman, Angel Delich, Jacob Ashba, Jack Braithwaite, Lauren Bayless and County Executive Mark A. Hackel).

About MFG Day in Macomb County: Manufacturing Day is a national campaign designed to create awareness about the economic importance of the industry and the interesting and well-paying jobs it provides. Since 2014, more than 10,000 students have participated in Macomb County’s Manufacturing Day through the support of an active planning committee and the generosity of host sites and sponsors. In 2018 alone, 82 tours were given by 72 host companies to 2,400 students from 28 MISD schools. It was the largest ever Manufacturing Day in Macomb County. For more information, visit http://business.macombgov.org/Business-Events-ManufacturingDay.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.