Signing event photos can be found by scrolling down this page. Char-Em ISD will share Career Tech to Careers signing events as they occur throughout the year; stay tuned for additional recognitions of graduates who demonstrate direct links from high school Career and Technical Education training to careers.
Char-Em ISD launches new initiative recognizing students entering the workforce post-graduation
‘We love to hear these stories about students who complete career tech education classes, head out to begin fulfilling careers, and make us all proud.’
BOYNE CITY, JULY 2019 – A new initiative, Career Tech to Careers, is celebrating the decision of high school graduates to enter the workforce after earning their diploma – specifically those students whose high school careers included Career and Technical Education classes.
“There are many ways that young adults can excel in life after they graduate from high school – it can be by attending a college, university or other post-secondary training, joining the military, and also by taking the skills they learned and heading directly into careers,” said Jim Rummer, Career and Technical Education Director for Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District. “This new Char-Em ISD ‘signing event’ initiative recognizes those students who are putting the knowledge and skills they developed through career tech education classes directly to work.”
The Mansfield Family Foundation has offered its support to the Career Tech to Careers initiative with a grant that will fund gift cards to students to purchase equipment and/or clothing necessary for their new careers.
PICTURED: (Front row, from left) Jim Rummer, Career and Technical Education Director, Char-Em ISD; Alex Sutton, Alex Sutton, 2019 East Jordan High School graduate, Cable/Facilities Locator for GLE; Dave DeNise, GLE Operations Manager; James Rincon, Line Worker Class co-instructor; (back row, from left) Jennifer and John Sutton, parents of Alex; Derek Maki, Line Worker Class co-instructor. Rincon and Maki are also line workers for GLE.
On Feb. 26, 2020, ISD staff held a Career Tech to Careers signing event with two recent local graduates at Great Lakes Energy’s (GLE) headquarters in Boyne City. Caid Schroeder and Hunter Sparks are now employed full-time as fiber fielders, working with the electric cooperative’s new Truestream fiber network.
Both young men took the Energy Fundamentals: Lineworker Emphasis program at Boyne City High School last year during their senior year at their respective schools; Caid is a 2019 graduate of Boyne City, and Hunter is a 2019 graduate of Boyne Falls. The career tech class prepared them with the skills they needed to land jobs at GLE.
“It has been better than I expected. Everyone here is like family,” said Hunter, whose grandfather was a lineman when the company was known as Top o’ Michigan. “It is a great place to work.”
Both said they enjoy working outside and taking on the challenges of surveying lines, poles and meters for advancing the Truestream fiber network project that is bringing high-speed internet to rural GLE members. They work an average of 60 hours a week.
“They’re both doing great,” said Bill White, Fiber Program Manager. “The lineworker program gave them foundational knowledge of electrical systems right out of high school, which is so helpful. It made the training process go very smoothly.”
Caid, the Boyne City student, said he was still undecided about his future plans during his junior year when he decided to check out the lineworker program, which was just getting started that year. “I really like the hands-on work and being outside,” he said. “It’s definitely like a family here. Everyone is very straightforward here, which I like. I see myself continuing to work for Great Lakes Energy, and I would like to eventually move up through the organization.”
Their teacher, James Rincon, who is also a lineman at Great Lakes Energy, said both showed good potential during the class. Great Lakes Energy is a key partner in the program, which takes place at Boyne City High School and the GLE training grounds just outside of Boyne City. “They were excellent students and both love the outdoors, and it’s good to see them with this opportunity,” said Rincon. “They are the first two students who have been hired full-time as a result of the class.”
Like all CTE classes, the class is open to any student in any Char-Em district. The lineworker course has drawn students from north of Pellston, Boyne Falls, Boyne City, East Jordan, Charlevoix, Petoskey and Central Lake. “We’ve continued to grow the numbers and next year we are adding a drone component to the program,” said Karen Jarema, Boyne City High School Principal. “Now is the time for interested students to apply for next year’s class.”
Pictured celebrating a recent Career Tech to Careers signing event are two recent local graduates, Hunter Sparks (front row, second from left) and Caid Schroeder, now fiber optic fielders with Great Lakes Energy. They are pictured with Bill White, Fiber Program Manager (front row, far left) and James Rincon (far right), lineworker class instructor and GLE lineman; and (back row, from left) Cynthia Pineda, Boyne Falls superintendent; Melissa McGuiness, Boyne Falls guidance counselor; Dugald Dunlop, GLE Fielding QC Manager; Jim Rummer, Director of Career and Technical Education for Char-Em ISD; Derek Maki, lineworker course instructor and GLE lineman; Karen Jarema, Boyne City High School Principal; and Patty Hellebuyck, Career Preparation Specialist, Char-Em ISD.
On Nov. 11, 2019, ISD staff held a Career Tech to Careers signing event with Brian Ferrell, a 2019 graduate of Pellston High School. Ferrell has started a career as a machinist at Lanzen Inc. in Harbor Springs. Career tech classes that Ferrell took at Pellston High School with Roger Armantrout helped prepare him to enter the work force.
Ferrell said he was still uncertain about his future plans upon graduation, and he received help in finding the position at Lanzen through Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) specialist Mike Vandermus. Vandermus set up a tour of Lanzen with Ferrell in August, after which they worked on his resume. He landed the job and started in early October.
“I knew I wanted to get into welding, after taking two years of welding at Pellston. But Lanzen did not have a welding position, so they asked me if I would be interested in a machining position for the time being,” said Ferrell, 18. “Mike helped me get on track and get this position.”
Ferrell works a mandatory 50 hours a week, and sometimes an optional 60, for which he gets paid time and a half. He receives health and 401(k) benefits.
“He’s doing good,” said plant manager Don Schorfhaar. “It’s a lot of hours for a young person, but he’s showing up, interested in learning and stays busy. He is willing to learn and is a polite young man – he gets along with others well.”
Schorfhaar said while it’s not totally uncommon to have such a young person start a career at Lanzen, it’s not typical. However, the company is proud to retain many long-term employees and to provide them with family supporting wages and benefits. They are always looking for skilled workers. “It’s nice to see younger kids moving into manufacturing jobs,” he noted.
Lanzen manufactures various metal fabricated components and assemblies for vehicles and equipment, and its primary customer is the military. In 2017, Lanzen acquired the assets of Demmer Corporation’s local machining operations and expanded.
Ferrell’s career tech instructor, Roger Armantrout, said Ferrell has chosen to overcome some personal hardships to secure his new career and to provide for himself. “Brian is someone who is willing to work hard to succeed, even when circumstances were challenging,” Armantrout said. “He has a good work ethic and had an excellent reference from a previous employer. It’s really cool to see him in here working.”
Vandermus had similar comments about Ferrell’s desire to do well. “When I first met him he was very open and honest and up front. With kids like that, I want to work with them and help them,” Vandermus said. “He has set aside some things to better himself, and it’s rewarding to see him succeed.”
Pictured celebrating Brian Ferrell’s signing event are (front row, from left) Jim Rummer, Char-Em ISD Career and Technical Education Director; Don Schorfharr, Plant Manager; Brian Ferrell; Pellston career tech instructor Roger Armantrout, and Pellston High School Principal Enos Bacon; (back row, from left) Tory Thrush, Char-Em ISD job coach; Alan Ecker, quality control; Kacie Neill, Lanzen Program Manager; Mike Vandermus, Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) Specialist; Annie Hansen, Char-Em ISD Career and Technical Education staff; and Casey McKinney, Lanzen program manager.
On Oct. 2, 2019, ISD staff held a Career Tech to Careers signing event with Jacob Bath, a 2019 graduate of Petoskey High School. Bath has started a career as a builder with Corble Builders in Petoskey. The job involves a number of skills Bath learned during his CTE classes at Petoskey High School with instructor Lauren Liebler, including drafting, engineering and mechatronics.
“Architecture class taught me about reading blueprints, which was very helpful and something I wasn’t familiar with before,” said Bath, 18.
While the business is in the Bath family – dad and mom Bill and Laura Bath are owners – Jacob said he envisioned going to work right out of high school rather than taking the college path, in large part due to the skills he had already developed and that he was ready to put to work.
On any given day, he can be found handling customer service needs, working hands-on for any current building projects, or learning how to create estimates for new residential and commercial projects. “Every day is different,” he added. “It’s also very satisfying to see the end result of a project, from where you started to where it ends up.”
Bill Bath said his son’s strengths are in working with customers and organization. “He’s very good at dealing with customers, especially for an 18-year-old,” said Bill. “He’s also very thorough in making sure that everything is ready for a project.”
Laura said she’s proud of Jacob’s interest in starting a career, one which they are handling not as family but professionally as employer/employee. “We feel these first years are his college courses so to speak; there is a lot to learn,” she said. “He needs to put in a certain number of hours in the office with me, for example. If he wants to own the business one day, he needs to learn all the aspects of running it.”
Bill said a career as a builder is rewarding and financially secure – and in high demand. “You can make a very good living out of it, right out of high school. That fishing boat at the end of the driveway and that GMC are Jacob’s,” he added. “There is a lot of money to be made and it’s very rewarding.”
Liebler, his instructor, said she works to prepare students like Jacob for careers where they can thrive. “Jacob mastered blueprints right away. I would have long conversations with Jacob about building and construction details. He was very focused on his goal of starting his career and was willing to work hard for it.”
Pictured celebrating Jacob Bath’s signing event are (front row, from left) Jim Rummer, Char-Em ISD Career and Technical Education Director; Jacob Bath; Laura Bath; (back row, from left) Tory Thrush, Char-Em ISD job coach; Lauren Liebler, Petoskey High School CTE instructor; and Bill Bath, owner of Corble Builders.
On July 17, 2019, ISD staff held a Career Tech to Careers signing event with Case Kilpatrick, a 2019 graduate of Pellston High School. Kilpatrick has started a career with Harbor Springs Excavating as a laborer. He was able to secure the position, which is full-time and includes traditional benefits, in part due to his extensive Career and Technical Education classes during 11th and 12th grades – construction, welding and wood shop. At the business, Kilpatrick assists with driving the loader and skid steer and assisting in other manual jobs. His teacher at Pellston was Roger Armantrout, who was present for the signing event at Harbor Springs Excavating, which is owned by Tom Gallagher.
“What he has achieved is really cool and his skills are really helping us in a variety of ways,” Gallagher said. “He has done a great job adapting his skills to what we do, based on his training in high school. And, he’s a young guy. We don’t find young guys too often. This is not just a job – it’s a career.”
Kilpatrick said next on his list to achieve is his CDL license, which he will work on at the company this summer.
Jim Rummer, Career and Technical Education Director for Char-Em ISD, said the initiative was started to recognize students who followed the roadmap of career tech activities through elementary, middle and high school, which has led them directly into employment in a career.
PICTURED: Case Kilpatrick (front, second from right) celebrates during a Career Tech to Careers signing event, which is organized by Char-Em ISD to recognize students who graduate and enter the workforce in careers related to their CTE classes in high school. Also pictured are (front row, from left) Jim Rummer, CTE Director; Tom Gallagher, owner of Harbor Springs Excavating; Kilpatrick; Roger Armantrout, CTE teacher at Pellston High school; (back row, from left) Beverly Osetek, Char-Em ISD Board of Education member; and Dena Thayer, Kilpatrick’s mother.
On July 24, 2019, ISD staff held a Career Tech to Careers signing event with Noodin Craven, a 2019 graduate of Pellston High School. Craven has started a career with MacGregor Plumbing and Heating as an apprentice installer. He was able to land the job – which is full-time and will include a full menu of traditional benefits after 90 days – due in part to the Career and Technical Education classes he took during high school, specifically welding and construction.
At MacGregor Plumbing and Heating, Craven is learning and applying those skills hands-on in diagnosing and repairing plumbing, heating and cooling issues for residential and commercial customers. Owner of the company, Julie Wieman, praised Craven’s attitude and work ethic and said it’s uncommon to find such a hardworking person right out of high school. “He is doing such a great job for us,” said Wieman. “Schools really need to keep doing more to teach kids these kinds of skills and encourage them to think outside of a traditional four-year college degree. We feel we can give these young adults the positive role models they need to be successful. Noodin is great, he has a phenomenal attitude – we can always train the right person in the skills they need when they have the right, positive attitude.”
Craven’s enthusiasm for taking the position and running with it is infectious. Set up on a job shadow experience by Annie Hansen, Char-Em ISD job coach, his interested was sparked immediately. “I really had no plan of what I wanted to do with my future by my senior year,” he said. “My dad was telling me that I really needed to find a direction, and I knew college was not for me. I couldn’t see myself going to school again after graduating from high school. During my senior year, I got into the welding class and construction, and it clicked – it was like a whole new world.”
Craven said with his interest now piqued, and with the help of Hansen, the connection to MacGregor Plumbing and Heating arrived at the perfect moment. “When Annie got me the interview, I was super excited,” he said. “From there, things just came together.”
Pictured celebrating the most recent Career Tech to Careers signing event are (front row, from left) Jim Rummer, CTE Director; Noodin (pronounced “Node-in”) Craven, 2019 Pellston graduate and apprentice installer; James Omey, lead installer; Julie Wieman, owner of MacGregor Plumbing and Heating; (back row, from left) Beverly Osetek, Char-Em ISD Board of Education member; and Annie Hansen and Tory Thrush, Char-Em ISD CTE staff.
On Aug. 2, 2019, ISD staff held a Career Tech to Careers signing event with Ryan MacGregor, a 2019 graduate of Harbor Springs High School. MacGregor has started a career with Walstrom Marina on the waterfront in Harbor Springs, serving as a technician apprentice. The work involves a number of skills revolving around repair and service of boats, including plumbing, electrical, basic mechanical repairs and working with customers to diagnose issues. “We have been trying to figure out where Ryan shines, but that’s everywhere,” said Wayne Peterson, MacGregor’s supervisor and the company’s service leader.
During his senior year, MacGregor enrolled in Adam Hausler’s automotive class, a Career and Technical Education offering. The skills he learned there translate well to repair of boats, which have many similar systems. “If you can fix a car, you can fix boats, motorcycles, ski lifts, golf carts, large equipment – anything mechanical,” Hausler said.
Walstrom marine technician Corey Geiger and Brenda Andrews, accounts payable/HR for the company, visited the class last school year in search of students, particularly those who were not college bound, who might be interested in coming to work for Walstrom after graduation. It worked – three students were interested early-on, with MacGregor following through to secure the spot. He began work full-time on June 10, and will be eligible for full benefits upon completing the summer successfully.
His teacher noted, “Ryan was an exceptional student. He has a good attitude, was willing to learn and has a really good work ethic and attendance. He was not afraid to try something new.”
Pictured celebrating Ryan MacGregor’s signing event are (front row, from left) Jim Rummer, Char-Em ISD Career and Technical Education Director; Ryan MacGregor; Adam Hausler, Harbor Springs High School automotive teacher; Wayne Peterson, service leader; (back frow, from left) Tory Thrush, Char-Em ISD job coach; Beverly Osetek, Char-Em ISD Board of Education member; Becky and Marty MacGregor, parents of Ryan; Aaron Hughey, assistant automotive class teacher; David Lesh, director of service; Mike Hutto, yard manager; Madeline Walstrom; and Brenda Andrews, accounts payable/HR at Walstrom.