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Labor and Economic Opportunity

Gov. Whitmer, legislators join career and technical education students for first-hand demonstration of advanced skills preparing them for Michigan's high-demand, high-tech careers

Annual event at Capitol shows vital role CTE plays in advancing the state’s talent pipeline

CONTACT: Camara Lewis, 517-930-4928

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Gov. Whitmer pictured with Avionics Maintenance students Ciasia Jackson-McKinley, Luke Apol and Sara Tatreau, and Cary Stamas, Director of Career Readiness and CEPD Director for Kent ISD and Nick Brown, Aviation Electronics instructor from Kent Career and Technical Center


LANSING, Mich. – About 75 career and technical education students and teachers from 14 schools across the state demonstrated their skills at the Capitol on Thursday to emphasize the value CTE has in preparing Michigan’s talent for 21st-century careers.

“Closing the skills gap in Michigan is a critical component to ensure we increase household incomes and support a growing economy in our great state – and these career and technical education programs serve as a valuable tool to do just that,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “CTE programs offer students hands-on experience and a solid jump start on their postsecondary education efforts and future career pathways.”

From mechatronics and avionics programs, to computer networking and health technology courses, Michigan’s talent is gearing up to work the jobs employers desperately need to fill – and, ultimately lead our state to a stronger and healthier economy.

“Career and technical education programs prepare students for their postsecondary education pathway, while building momentum to fill the state’s talent gap,” said Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan Acting Director Stephanie Beckhorn. “We are thrilled to see efforts like today’s showcase that demonstrate the innovative curriculum taught in these programs and how they set students on a path for success.”

As Gov. Whitmer looks to focus on credential attainment, aiming for 60% of Michiganders with either a two or four-year degree, certification or apprenticeship, CTE courses offer educators the tools to show students the practical real-world application for the state’s most in-demand jobs.  

“It’s exciting to see our students share their stories and show off the skills they learned in these innovative and rigorous programs with the state’s leaders,” Alpena Public Schools CTE Director and CTE Showcase lead Joyce McCoy said. “Career and technical education programs provide students with another alternative to reaching their goals, while playing a key role in developing the state’s talent pipeline and blazing a new trail for their future. Today’s showcase was another face-to-face opportunity to reiterate the value of these programs.”

Since 2015, CTE programs across the state have added nearly 6,000 students, bringing the total number of high schoolers enrolled in these high-tech, high-skill and hands-on programs to over 110,000 in 2018.

“Since being in the Avionics program I’ve learned that there are numerous opportunities for students graduating from the program because the industry needs and is looking for aviation mechanics and avionic technicians,” said Ciasia Jackson-McKinley, aviation maintenance senior at East Kentwood High School. “There’s a lot of hands-on training, each student walks away with an average of five national certifications. Companies find the education we receive valuable and recruit us right out of high school for their high-paying careers.”  

Participating programs in today’s showcase include:

  • Newaygo County Career and Tech Center’s Mechatronics course
  • Wexford-Missaukee ISD’s Agriscience program
  • Clare-Gladwin RESD Criminal Justice program
  • Clair County Tech Center’s Digital Media course
  • Kent Career and Technical Center Avionics Maintenance program
  • Bay-Arenac ISD Career Center Welding program
  • Calhoun County Computer Network course
  • Dakota High School Construction Technology program
  • Alpena High School Amp Up! program
  • Jackson Area Career Center Firefighting/EMS course
  • Hartland High School Marketing program
  • Eaton RESA Health Technology program
  • Canton High School Graphics and Printing course
  • Mecosta-Osceola Saginaw Career Complex Food Display course

To learn more about high-demand, high-paying careers in Professional Trades, and the training and education needed, visit