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Labor and Economic Opportunity

"Olympics" event helps students explore high-demand manufacturing careers

Star Crane and Hoist open doors for student tours during Manufacturing Week, Sept. 29-Oct. 5

Release Date: Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019
Contact: Camara Lewis, 517-930-4928

Student learns how to operate crane
Brandon Holstege, a sophomore at Allendale High School, learns how to operate a crane during Manufacturing Week at Star Crane and Hoist.

ALLENDALE, Mich. — Star Crane and Hoist hosted its annual Olympics aimed at helping students explore career opportunities in manufacturing.

The family-owned business makes, sells, services, installs and repairs cranes and hoists. The company has hosted local high school students to participate in its Star Crane Olympics event, which puts student skills to the test during a crane and maneuvering obstacle course, for several years to expose students to careers in manufacturing.

The freshmen and sophomores from Allendale High School competed for the top prize — unlimited bragging rights. 

“Getting the chance to operate a crane and learn more about the maintenance and electrical side of the job was a cool experience. I had a great time,” sophomore Brandon Holstege said. “I’m exploring my options and looking at applying to the career and technical education program in the future because a manufacturing career may be the right fit for me.”

With over 200 events happening around the state during Michigan Manufacturing Week, the Allendale-based company and Going PRO Talent Fund grant recipient opened its door to 30  high school students to showcase what careers are available in manufacturing at the facility.  

Michigan has more than 11,386 unique manufacturing firms, which account for 635,500 jobs and contributes $98.64 billion into the global economy annually, proving the significant role manufacturing plays in Michigan’s continued economic triumphs.  

“We’ve established great partnerships in the community with groups such as West Michigan Works! and the Allendale Chamber of Commerce that help make this event a success,” said Craig Derks, CEO, Star Crane and Hoist, Inc. “The career opportunities are plentiful within the company, and with the intent of providing a fun experience to young talent, we’ve been able to build a pathway to help fill our openings.”

While the Star Crane Olympics turns out to be a quick introduction into crane maintenance and fabrication jobs, the program has seen success with offering an in-depth, hands-on summer co-op to students interested in learning more about the available highly skilled positions within the company. 

To learn more about Manufacturing Day and statewide events, visit For additional information on manufacturing careers in Michigan, visit

Additional photos from the event can be found here: