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, Director of Career and Technical Education 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.
Two long-time friends and 2022 East Jordan High School graduates recently began employment at Fletch’s GMC Buick Audi in Petoskey, working in the certified service center as technicians. Thomas Simpson and Keegan Speer both credit the skills they learned during career and technical education courses in high school in providing them the hands-on experience needed to go directly into the workforce after graduating this spring.
“By the time I was in the second year of autos, I decided this is what I wanted to do to make a living,” said Speer.
“When I was younger I started by tearing apart bicycles and putting them back together, and then the toys kept getting bigger,” said Simpson, who now owns numerous vehicles that he is able to repair. “They tend to break down, and it’s great to be able to fix them myself. It’s a great skill to have.”
Their choice to enter the workforce after graduation was recently celebrated by Char-Em ISD Career and Technical Education staff as part of the “Career Tech to Careers” initiative, which recognizes the decision of high school graduates to enter careers after earning diplomas, specifically those students whose high school careers included CTE classes.
That was indeed the case for both Simpson and Speer. During high school, Simpson took Automotive Technology 1-3, Welding Technology and Woodworking 1 and 2. Speer took autos 1 and 2, welding, woods, and four years of CAD (computer aided design).
Both young men are full-time tire and lube technicians throughout this summer, assisting with oil changes, tire rotations and basic maintenance tasks for visitors to the certified service center at Fletch’s. In the fall, they will continue employment at Fletch’s and take courses at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City to gain further automotive knowledge. Both currently have various certifications already from their high school automotive program.
They typically work Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., are paid hourly, and have the opportunity to work extra hours.
Service manager John Hubbard noted that the two had ample skills out of high school to fill the full time positions. “A lot of these guys have worked on cars since they were young, which was the case with Thomas and Keegan. When hiring, we look for someone who is enthusiastic about the car business and working on cars, and someone with a great attitude,” said Hubbard.
Abigail Skop, human resources manager for Fletch’s, said the two young men exhibited a passion for working on vehicles – one of the most important traits at this long-time, family owned Petoskey business. “You can tell when kids have that passion. It is something that I look for in hiring,” said Skop. “They also need to have good listening skills. A lot of our staff have worked here for a long time and they want to teach these younger kids the skills they need.”
Hubbard said he looks forward to Simpson and Speer gaining even more knowledge during their training at NMC, which can help them land further certifications and grow in their positions at Fletch’s. “It’s a great trade to get into. You can make a lot of money and avoid a lot of debt,” he added.
Skop said Fletch’s looks for opportunities to provide young people with good paying, steady jobs. “We like investing in these young adults,” she said. “They’re our future, too.”
Special thanks to the Mansfield Family Foundation for continuing to support these signing events with gift cards for the new employees to purchase necessary tools and equipment for their job.
Pictured celebrating at Fletch’s are (front row, from left) Thomas Simpson; Jim Rummer, Director of Career and Technical Education Char-Em ISD; Keegan Speer; (back row, from left) Tory Thrush, Career/College Readiness Consultant Char-Em ISD; Mary Foster, Chief Operating Officer of Fletch’s; John Hubbard, service manager; and Hannah Sanderson, CTE Consultant, Char-Em ISD.
On Dec. 6, 2021, Char-Em ISD staff held a Career Tech to Careers signing event with Caleb Boyer, a 2021 graduate of East Jordan High School, at Industrial Magnetics, Inc. (IMI) in Boyne City. Boyer joined the staff on Oct. 27, 21, as a welder working between 40-55 hours a week.
“Things are going really well so far,” said Boyer. “I really like how things are not the same every day on the job.”
Boyer is one of a growing number of young adults who are choosing to go into the workforce after graduating from high school, often into the skilled trades where positions are in high-demand for laborers such as welders, builders, vehicle and powersports repair, line work, among many other areas. Jim Rummer, Director of Career and Technical Education for Char-Em ISD, developed the idea of the Career Tech to Careers signing events to recognize students who are contributing to communities’ quality of life by choosing the skilled trades.
“Gone are the days when the skilled trades were viewed as a lesser option than post-secondary college. Today, they are on equal footing,” said Rummer. “We need young men and women to weld, to build houses, to choose health care and public safety careers. We need auto mechanics when our cars break down or are damaged. We need line workers to repair lines and restore power after storms. These jobs are critical to our lives. It’s time they are recognized as such.”
Casey House, Director of Operations at IMI, said while in the past it was less common to employ a young person right out of high school, it is becoming more so as the labor shortage continues. “Caleb presented a solid interview with our team,” said House. “He has a strong work ethic and the ability to work well with others – two key components to career success for any individual of any age.”
On the job, Boyer works in welding, assembly and communicating about projects with colleagues. He is an hourly worker eligible for “bonus hour” incentive compensation, a 401(k) with IMI match, as well as health, dental, and vision insurance or a cash payout if other coverage is available.
“Caleb is really progressing well and is a good fit for our organization,” House added.
Boyer said the welding program at East Jordan High School set him up for career success after graduation. “Soft skills” like communication and work ethic are part of the lessons in Dave Muladore’s class, he added. He advised others close to graduation to consider the skilled trades and to not feel pressure to attend college, but to follow their own interests.
Pictured (from left) are Nate Dionne, principal of East Jordan High School, Jim Rummer, Director of Career and Technical Education for Char-Em ISD, Caleb Boyer, recent EJHS graduate and welder at Industrial Magnetics, Inc., and Casey House, IMI Director of Operations.
On May 10, 2021, ISD staff held a Career Tech to Careers signing event with TJ Wodek, a 2020 graduate of Petoskey High School. Wodek has started a career with Boyne City-based Great Lakes Energy (GLE), as a first-step apprentice. He gained valuable experience before graduation due to his enrollment in Career and Technical Education classes in high school, most notably the Energy Fundamentals: Lineworker Emphasis program housed at Boyne City High School during his senior year.
“I knew that I didn’t want to go on to more school for four more years after I graduated,” Wodek said. “This job is perfect for me. I love to be outside and it is hands-on.”
After high school, Wodek originally planned to attend Alpena Community College for further lineworker training, but the instructor told him his knowledge gained in the high school class put him far ahead of others just beginning to pursue the field. Instead of continuing at ACC, he applied for an open position GLE and was hired in December 2020.
Although he didn’t attend college after high school, Wodek is not done with his education and training. He is part of an apprenticeship program through GLE that involves classroom and on-the-job training for approximately the next four years, when he will become a journeyman lineman. Currently, Wodek spends most of his time installing underground wiring and also working on overhead lines. “Being able to turn the lights on for people in the middle of the night or during a storm is very rewarding,” Wodek said.
One of his teachers, Tyler Armantrout, said Wodek demonstrated a drive to become a lineworker.
“He was also very interested in learning about the program and paid attention to detail,” said Armantrout. Class instructors are also working linemen for GLE, in a partnership with the school district and Char-Em ISD.
Wodek’s supervisor, Gregg Capelin, praised the lineworker program at the high school for its preparation of students entering the workforce. “We at GLE are excited about partnering with the school system and the ISD in helping develop our future skilled trades workers. TJ was the first we have hired full time from this program and he is definitely beneficial to the GLE team,” said Capelin. “The program prepared him well to start him on his path to a successful career in linework. It was first evident when we brought him in for his interview and skills test assessments of how well the high school program prepared him. Anyone who is interested in working outside in the utility business should consider enrolling in this program.”
TJ Wodek (center, front) is pictured during a Career Tech to Careers signing event, which is organized by Char-Em ISD to recognize students who graduate and enter the work force in careers related to their CTE classes in high school. He is pictured with Jim Rummer (front left), Director of Career and Technical Education for Char-Em ISD, and his supervisor, Gregg Capelin. Pictured in the center row, behind those seated, are Wodek’s parents, Brenda and Jerry Wodek, along with Rep. Ken Borton.
Pictured in the back row, from left, are Pat Little, Superintendent of Boyne City Public Schools; Tyler Armantrout, lineworker class instructor; Annie Hansen, Career Prep Specialist with CEISD; Scott Yocum, GLE lineman and lineworker class instructor; Barry Anderson, Char-Em ISD Board of Education member; Tory Thrush, Career and College Readiness Consultant CEISD; Hannah Sanderson, CTE Consultant CEISD; Jen Wilson (blue top), GLE VP of HR and Loss Control; Dave Depew, GLE Operations Manager; and Derek Maki, GLE Assistant Safety Director.
Pictured on the poles in the background are current lineworker course students.
On Nov. 11, 2020, ISD staff held a Career Tech to Careers signing event with Dom Pelaccio, a 2020 Pellston High School graduate. Pelaccio has started a career at Pellston Auto Repair, owned by Donn Juday. Pelaccio now works about 50-55 hours per week since starting at the auto repair facility in February 2020. He was able to land the position in part due to his enrollment in Career and Technical Education classes during high school, including welding and construction.
Pelaccio also worked closely with Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates Specialist Mike Vandermus in securing the position. JMG works alongside Char-Em ISD’s CTE staff in helping students with career and college readiness.
“Dom is a hard worker and extremely dedicated when he finds something he enjoys,” said Vandermus. “He has been great to work with and set a great example for other students that lack interest in traditional school subject, but who enjoy the trades. He has showed that with perseverance and good choices, you can accomplish your goals and career aspirations.”
As a mechanic, Pelaccio works on traditional car mechanic duties while he also pursues certifications in various specialty areas such as brakes. “It’s a fun job and I really enjoy it,” he said. “I’ve always been focused on mechanics. It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Pellston welding instructor Roger Armantrout said he’s proud to see more CTE students heading into the workforce after high school and finding good-paying jobs that are in high demand – a win for the graduates and local businesses. “It’s picking up a lot of traction and it’s really a win-win,” he noted. “The market is wide open when it comes to the skilled trades.”
He said the skilled trades classes in Char-Em allow students to pursue what interests them, which can spark interest more than some traditional classes. “You try to let them do what they are interested in, so they can find success after high school,” Armantrout added.
Repair shop owner Juday said Pelaccio “reminded me a lot of myself when I was younger. We took him on before the (pandemic) shutdown, and after we were able to extend his hours and he was hired on full-time. He always has a good attitude and he fits in very well here. He’s dependable and a quick-learner.”
Caption: Dom Pelaccio (front row, second from left) is pictured during a Career Tech to Careers signing event, which is organized by Char-Em ISD to recognize students who graduate and enter the work force in careers related to their CTE classes in high school. Also pictured are (front row, from left) Donn Juday, owner of Pellston Auto Repair; Jim Rummer, Char-Em ISD CTE Director; Roger Armantrout, Pellston High School CTE Instructor; (back row, from left) Hannah Sanderson, Char-Em ISD CTE Consultant; Tory Thrush, Char-Em ISD Career/College Readiness Consultant; and Enos Bacon, Jr., Pellston High School Principal.
On Nov. 10, 2020, ISD staff held a Career Tech to Careers signing event with Nick Wilson, a 2020 graduate of East Jordan High School. Wilson has started a career with Bader and Sons, an agricultural dealership selling John Deere equipment, parts and service with multiple locations around Michigan; Wilson is working from the Lake City facility. He was able to land the position, which is full-time and will include benefits, in part due to his enrollment in Career and Technical Education classes during high school. Wilson took welding, woodworking, linework and agricultural science CTE classes at his school and in neighboring districts.
At Bader and Sons, Wilson spends most of his time working to repair equipment, such as compact tractors, eventually transitioning to 8Rs and four-wheel drives. His title will soon be “ag service technician.” He started in his job in May 2020 and is continuing a 2-year associate’s degree program through Owens Community College in Toledo, where students only work on and learn about Deere equipment.
“I’ve learned to communicate better with people and work well with my hands. I’ve always been a real hands-on learner and things come to me more quickly that way,” said Wilson, about his new job. “I’ve learned how to problem-solve and brainstorm new ideas and ways to get jobs done more efficiently.”
HR manager Amie Post said Wilson was referred to the company for employment “as a young man with a good head on his shoulders and someone who was interested in the John Deere Power Up program (in Toledo).”
“We love partnering with local schools to get students in co-op positions or ones who want to go right into the workforce,” she noted.
His supervisor, service manager Chad Dodde, said Wilson is “always punctual and responsible, ready to go to work when he arrives on the job. Nick is always being challenged in a different way with physical and mental challenges. With this job you will never stop learning, it’s always an adventure.”
Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates specialist Mike Vandermus assisted Wilson with writing his resume and cover letter. “Nick is a great young man with a very high ceiling. He is always ready to work, and he shows his interest through his eagerness to learn and increase his knowledge in the field. Nick will be successful in anything he puts his mind to, and he has been great to work with and watch excel,” Vandermus said. JMG partners with Char-Em ISD Career and Technical Education to assist students with post-secondary planning.
Employers in the region continue to emphasize that skilled workers are in high demand, with good-paying wages and benefits in family-supporting environments. “These jobs are not being filled at a rate fast enough to keep up with those retiring, and the local demand for jobs that require skilled trades workers,” Vandermus added.
Caption: Nick Wilson (center, front) is pictured during a Career Tech to Careers signing event, which is organized by Char-Em ISD to recognize students who graduate and enter the work force in careers related to their CTE classes in high school. Also pictured are (front row, from left) Matt Stevenson, East Jordan Public Schools Superintendent; Jim Rummer, Char-Em ISD CTE Director; Chad Dobbe, Bader service manager; David Muladore, East Jordan welding instructor; (back row, from left) Nate Dionne, East Jordan High School Principal; Hannah Sanderson, Char-Em ISD CTE Consultant; Wilson’s parents, Doug and Janette Wilson; Amie Post, Bader HR Manager; Mike Vandermus, Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates Specialist; and Susan Ward, JMG manager.
On Oct. 14, 2020, ISD staff held a Career Tech to Careers signing event with Andrew Moyer, a 2019 graduate of Pellston High School. Moyer has started a career with Harbor Springs Excavating as a laborer. He was able to secure the position, which is full-time and will include traditional benefits after a year of successful employment, in part due to his enrollment in Career and Technical Education classes during high school, including construction and welding. At the excavating business, Moyer assists with shoveling for excavation projects, grading asphalt and operating heavy equipment. His teacher at Pellston was Roger Armantrout, who was present for the signing event.
“The students who come out of the Career Tech programs have been taught great math skills, which are more important than people may realize in this line of work,” said Tom Gallagher, owner of Harbor Springs Excavating. “They need to be able to read a tape measure and blueprints, and utilize math skills every day. The CTE programs have been great for our community and hopefully will continue to produce skilled laborers, which are in high-demand here and everywhere.”
Instructor Armantrout said he consistently hears from regional employers the importance of educating students like Moyer in not only hands-on skills, but also the importance of being on time and ready to work. For young adults like Moyer, those skills can lead to family-supporting wages and stable employment. “Every employer I talk to says, ‘I will teach them the skills they need to know if they have a good attitude, show up on time and work hard.” Armantrout said. “Andrew was a good student who was always pushing himself and has a good work ethic.”
Moyer said he is enjoying the benefits of working hard and earning overtime, many times putting in up to 10 hours a day, six days a week. “It’s been a great work environment. My coworkers are awesome, and Mr. Armantrout really prepared me with a good work ethic,” he said.
Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates specialist Mike Vandermus was also on hand for the signing event. He worked with Moyer to help identify possible places of employment based on his skills, and was proud to see him succeeding at Harbor Springs Excavating. JMG is a partner with Char-Em ISD’s CTE department in helping students with career and college readiness.
“The trades everywhere need skilled workers. If you like working with your hands, you can make a good living – more than most jobs at the entry level. Another benefit is that these jobs often have a set schedule. You know you are going to work Monday-Friday,” said Vandermus. “JMG is always happy to see our students finding career success in Northern Michigan.”
Andrew Moyer (front, second from right) is pictured during a Career Tech to Careers signing event, which is organized by Char-Em ISD to recognize students who graduate and enter the work force in careers related to their CTE classes in high school. Also pictured are (front row, from left) Roger Armantrout, CTE teacher at Pellston High School; Jim Rummer, CTE Director; Tom Gallagher, owner of Harbor Springs Excavating; Kilpatrick; (back row, from left) Mike Vandermus, Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates; Tory Thrush, Char-Em ISD CTE staff member; and Greg Gallagher, vice president of the company.
On Sept. 24, 2020, ISD staff held a Career Tech to Careers signing event with Jared Kortman, a 2020 graduate of Petoskey High school. Kortman, 18, has started a career as a builder with Wentworth Builders, of Harbor Springs. The job involves a number of skills Kortman learned during his CTE classes at Petoskey High School with instructor Larry Liebler, who retired last year after leading the school’s building trades program for decades. Kortman also took drafting, woods and accounting CTE courses.
“I considered going to college and toured Northern Michigan University, but I knew I would be happier going directly into the workforce,” said Kortman, while taking a quick break for a photo opp at the site of an 8,000-square-foot home construction project on Walloon Lake. “I have learned so much here, including teamwork and commitment.”
Kortman began working on June 1, first as an apprentice and now as a craftsman level 2. Wentworth owner Scott Kennard said his company has never hired someone as young as Kortman. However, the young man showed tremendous potential, dedication and education.
“Jared has become an asset very quickly,” said Kennard. “His skills right out of the gate gave us the confidence to hire him. We really respect the building trades program at Petoskey High School, and Jared is a great example of competent help with an education specific to the construction industry. We would love to be able to hire more like him – these positions are in high-demand in our region.”
On any given day, Kortman can be found putting his skills to work on finishing details, such as trim, paneling and baseboards. He regularly uses a table saw, chop box and nail guns – tools he became comfortable with during high school classes. He credited his instructor, Larry Liebler, for believing in him and setting him on a path for success.
“He’s the one who got me to a place where I could do what I wanted to do,” Kortman said. “He’s a terrific teacher and he led me in this direction.”
Tamara Kolodziej, Petoskey High School counselor, said the school works hard to show students the benefits of career and technical courses that can lead right into fulfilling careers post-high school. For those students who may not be college-bound, these high-paying, in-demand jobs are ready and waiting for students like Kortman to fill.
“He was an exceptional student,” Kolodziej said. “Jared was serious through high school and had the right combination of drive and academic success. It’s exciting to see him jumping right into a reputable company like Wentworth Builders and enjoying the result of his hard work.”
Pictured celebrating Jared Kortman’s signing event are (front row, from left) Nate Hacker, site supervisor; Jared Kortman, craftsman level 2; Jim Rummer, Char-Em ISD Career and Technical Education Director; (back row, from left) Scott Carbeck, Wentworth Builders senior project manager; Scott Kennard, owner of Wentworth Builders; Tamara Kolodziej, Petoskey High School counselor; and Tory Thrush, Char-Em ISD Career and College Readiness Consultant.
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.