Grayling High School leaders seeking more businesses for work based learning opportunities
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
Classes cropped up at businesses throughout the community for the 2018-19 school year to help jump start students exploring career options and bringing in young talent to fill jobs for employers.
Joe Powers tasked Jeff Branch, the current assistant principal at Grayling High School, to establish a work based learning program for juniors and seniors.
Worked based leaning, more commonly known as a co-op program in the past, was launched by former Gov. Rick Snyder through the Marshall Plan.
“The Marshall Plan seeks to fill these gaps and prepare students for future job growth by restructuring the education system to favor a new method of learning that encourages certificate-based education. Instead of relying solely on the four-year college model that does not always translate directly to high-paying careers, the Marshall Plan aims to favor more gradual, step-by-step learning that will encourage students to learn throughout their lives,” according to www.michigan.gov.
Jessie Trumble and Alayne Hansen, from the Michigan Works Office in Grayling, helped support the placement of students in a variety of ways by providing the necessary insurance and financial backing needed to place students in a working environment.
The students completed internships or on-the-job training to allow them to explore careers they are interested in.
“This will allow future workers to build their careers more gradually, rather than being forced to decide their future paths when they are 18-20 years old,” according to www.michigan.gov.
For example, one student was interested in pursuing a career as a teacher. She was placed in a classroom with older students, but discovered she was comfortable with younger students. She was then placed in a classroom at the Grayling Elementary School.
“It kind of steers them in a direction to save them time when they graduate, so they can be more specific, because now they know what areas that they want to focus in on,” Branch said.
As part of the work based learning program program, students will be exposed to different careers and job opportunities throughout the K-12 education.
Education development plans are completed for each student, giving them exposure to different opportunities and careers with hands on experiences.
This year, nine students were placed at job sites through the work based leaning program including Weyerhaeuser, Grayling Elementary School, McClain and Son Builders, Grayling Hospital for Animals, Blarney Stone Broadcasting, IMM Welding, Deane Systems, and J&J Heating and Cooling.
“There is no better way than the exposure to the real world of work,” Branch said.
The students earn credit toward graduation because the work based leaning can be classified as an elective class.
Justin Jamison, a junior, has worked side-by-side with his dad, Kevin Jamison, the owner of J&J Heating and Cooling.
“This type of learning has helped me get more on-the-job experience and gave me the ability to grow in this field faster than before. It has offered a wider range of things to work on and I can now work on things with more confidence knowing exactly what I am doing. Justin said. “While being on the job more, I have excelled in the amount of time it takes me to do certain tasks as well. In all, I think that this program has had a positive impact and has benefited me in many ways.”
Evan Emmons, a senior, got a jump start on his plans to pursue his education in robotics by working at Deane Systems.
“My work based learning program has shown me that I want to go to college for robotic engineering to further my career in this field. Deane Systems provides a great work environment and everyone is friendly,” Emmons said. “Everything I do there is all hands on whether you are cleaning a machine, building one, or fixing one. Deane Systems has also offered me a job for the summer, which I plan on taking because I love working for this company.”
Rocky Hamilton, a senior, worked at IMM welding, which sparked his interest enough that he wants to get certified in the field.
“The work based learning program has given me a lot of good experience with welding and metalworking. I now know enough about welding that getting certified won’t be too hard or difficult,” Hamilton said. “I am comfortable enough with a welder that welding on the job isn’t going to be a problem. What helped me to achieve this the most would have to be all the help and suggestions from the other workers in the shop. This wouldn’t have been possible without the program.”
Evan Lamrock, a senior, said he got a whole new lease on life working as a welder for Weyerhaeuser.
“I have been blessed with the opportunity to work half the day as a work based learning student at Weyerhaeuser. At Weyerhaeuser, I have been tasked to do many things, welding, cutting, and replacing worn/broken parts,” Lamrock said. “The opportunity that was offered to me was a great step to achieve my career as a welder. My supervisor and teacher have been great, teaching and instructing me, helping me when I need help and not getting impatient when I do not get something. Michigan Works has been helpful enough to pay me and supply me with work clothes and boots. The work based learning program has helped me further my education and has started my future career.”
Branch does evaluations on the students every nine weeks to track their progress on the job.
“This is a great opportunity to get exposure and experience to prove themselves,” Branch said.
Companies or business interested in participating in work based learning can contact Branch at (989) 344-3500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are open to all options and what’s best for all kids in every situation in the skilled trades,” Branch said.