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Students get an internship on Draft Day | News, sports, jobs


Escanaba High School senior Cade Franks signs with Miron Construction Company and Carpenters and Millwrights Local 1510. (Escanaba Daily Press photo)

ESCANABA – A graduation ceremony that doubled as concept day for students entering the construction trades was held at the UA Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 111 Hall in Escanaba.

Eleven graduating seniors from Escanaba, Gladstone, Iron Mountain, Marquette and Rapid River were recruited Friday by local electrical, mechanical, metalworking and construction companies, ensuring that many next-generation workers will remain in the Upper Peninsula to assist in the construction of the region. future.

The program that has given these youth the knowledge and skills to get their feet in the door is called Construction Connect UP and was designed through the combined efforts of the Upper Peninsula Construction Council (UPCC) – which is made up of affiliated unions and signatories. contractors – local Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, and Upper Peninsula Michigan Works!

“Currently, it is a challenge to supply enough skilled professionals to meet the demand of construction projects throughout our country,” said UPCC Executive Director Mike Smith. “To compound this problem, over the next seven years, 40% of those currently using the tools will be eligible to retire.”

Smith explained that the Construction Connect program “creates interest and opportunities for young people to determine their own destiny, where defined paths to success are identified.”

For most students who left the program, this 2023-2024 school year marked the completion of their second year of CTE training. As juniors they register for construction courses; The final year is for more specialized, hands-on work experience.

“As a senior, they sign up for this – they’re still enrolled in our CTE program, but instead of coming to class, they’re going to the workplace,” said Delta-Schoolcraft ISD CTE Director Trent Bellingar.

In addition to on-the-job learning, Bellingar says students must also perform other necessary adult tasks – whether it’s completing a timesheet or soft skills such as effective communication.

After graduating from the Construction Connect program, Cade Franks, Brett Labre, Nate Lanaville and Ty Miron from Escanaba High School; Nick Matthews from Gladstone High School; Dylan Premo and Luke Wolfe of Iron Mountain High School; Kolby Hood from Kingsford High School; Dakota Carey and Tyler Thomas of Marquette High School and Abbigail Hardwick of Rapid River High School all signed up for a three- to five-year internship program.

“You made a great decision at a great time in your life.” UP Michigan works! Executive Director Deb Brunell addressed the students and called them “devoted” And “resilient.”

And the word sounded: “Resilience – it is not a common skill today, but it is very necessary and important,” Brunell emphasized and said that Michigan Works! was proud to be part of programs like Construction Connect to support “durable” careers.

Smith said that so far 12 students – four from the Escanaba area, four from the Iron Mountain area and four from the Marquette area – have been selected to participate in the program next year, and they want to grow in the UP and get students from the Sault Ste. Marie area.

Information about the UPCC and its programs, including a summer camp now open for registration, can be found at

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