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CTE Magazine moves online: Publication highlights local educational opportunities

A robotics activity takes place at Northern Michigan University. The annual publication that includes Career Technical Education opportunities in Marquette and Alger counties has transitioned from a print to a digital format in its seventh year. (Photo courtesy of NMU)

MARQUETTE — February is Career Technical Education month, and the annual publication that details related opportunities in Marquette and Alger counties has transitioned from a print to a digital format in its seventh year, Northern Michigan University announced.

The online CTE Magazine includes descriptions and videos related to programs that prepare individuals for many of the country’s most in-demand occupations.

“The 11 high schools in Marquette and Alger Counties, along with NMU, offer hands-on training programs in health care, professional trades, business, cyber security, culinary arts and cosmetology,” Stu Bradley, chair of the CTE Committee of Marquette and Alger Counties, which created the electronic publication with NMU, said in a news release. “About 50% of the students in our two counties are enrolled in CTE programs.”

The goal of the committee, he said, is to help high school students make the best possible career decisions before they graduate.

“We’re excited to reach out to them in a new format they’re used to and likely prefer, that’s also more cost-efficient and interactive,” Bradley said.

CTE offers multiple benefits. High school students who enroll in courses with real-world relevance tend to be more engaged, perform better academically and graduate at higher rates, according to the National Association of CTE.

Additionally, high school students can earn free college credits through the Marquette-Alger Technical Middle College, leading to a technical certificate from NMU.

At the college level, NMU students are trained by instructors who keep pace with the latest developments in their field, obtaining required credentials for a promising career in one to four years. Local apprenticeship programs are also available.

Varying from three to five years for completion, depending on the trade, they provide students with classroom instruction and pay while they learn on the job.

The interactive 2021 CTE magazine can be viewed at nmu.edu/cte. It has information on why individuals should choose a professional trades career, listing positions such as electricians, machinists, massage therapists and millwrights, among others, as high-demand, high-wage and high-growth careers in Michigan.

It also lists programs available at NMU, including a two-year indoor agriculture degree and a one-year electrical line technician certificate.

February declared CTE Month

With more than 529,000 Michigan job openings projected annually through the year 2028, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and the Michigan Department of Education in proclaiming February as Career and Technical Education Month.

CTE offers high school and college students hands-on training that can be applied to real-world training and career pathways. Additionally, as part of the governor’s Michigan Back to Work initiative to grow the state economy and encourage good-paying jobs for Michigan workers, state officials this month are encouraging students to explore viable programs across the state that teach skills needed for CTE jobs.

“There are many career pathways that can lead to a rewarding future, and it’s important that Michigan students can access and explore the many options available to them,” Whitmer said in a news release. “Career and technical education programs offer academic, technical and real-world skills that prepare our high school and college students for success in today’s 21st century economy.”

Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, over 97,000 Michigan high school students participated in CTE in the 2019-2020 school year. More than 95% of students who concentrated in CTE go on to attend a postsecondary educational institution, seek advanced career and technical education training, sign up for military service, participate in national volunteer service or find employment within a year of graduation, according to MDE.

MDE data also shows students who completed a high school CTE program and went on to earn a two-year degree earn an average starting wage that is $5,200 more than their peers with no high school CTE.

“Expanding CTE programs in Michigan schools helps to ensure students have the real-world, hands-on experience they need to explore rewarding career opportunities,” state Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice said in a news release.

Postsecondary institutions in Michigan have more than 3,600 qualifying CTE programs, offering a certificate or associates degree. There are nearly 90,000 students enrolled in these programs in the state. Students, parents, educators and life-long learners interested in exploring career options, training, wages and projected openings should visit the state’s Pathfinder website. Additional high school CTE resources and information may be found on MDE’s website.

To explore professional trades careers, including Day-In-The-Life videos from Michiganders highlighting their careers, and learn more about CTE Month, visit Going-PRO.com/CTE.

“Jobs requiring skilled employees demand more education and training than ever before,” LEO Acting Director Susan Corbin said in a news release. “CTE programs prepare students for these career opportunities, giving students a head start on their pathway to a certificate in professional trades, registered apprenticeships or a college degree.”

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net

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