In school as in life, some things aren’t as complicated as they appear. Peeking through the windows at the new Career and Technical Education (CTE) lab at Lapeer High School, one might think that the machines staring back require technical know-how well above the level of the average high school student.
As it turns out, nothing could be further from the truth.
“I think that’s the biggest misconception,” said Dayonte Grimes, the District’s CTE and Work-Based Program Supervisor (click here to learn more about him). “This program is designed for people of all ages and all skill levels. I’ve been able to teach young children this material and they have excelled with it. The program is structured in such a way that it is easily learned and retained while having fun and preparing for successful and lucrative careers.”
In other words, you don’t need to be a fledgling scientist or mathematician to find your niche in a technical field. The opportunities are right here for the taking.
“We have small class sizes, multiple pathways to explore, hands-on experiences, and the opportunity to earn industry-recognized credentials while in high school,” said Jaime Hofert, the District’s STEM Coordinator. “The skills being acquired in advanced manufacturing are in high-demand – that’s the best part.”
As a bonus, there are many technical careers with significant earning potential that do not require a small fortune in college debt.
“People who don’t have experience in advanced manufacturing miss out on some key elements that make it such a great field to get into,” Hofert said.
One of the goals of the program, funded by the state’s Marshall Plan for Talent, was to increase visibility of CTE programs to pique the curiosity of students. The CTE space at LHS is just adjacent to the cafeteria and across the hall from the school’s main entrance – you can’t miss it.
“Seeing is believing, and the students loved the fact that they could watch the robots work and interact with them,” Grimes said. “Being able to walk by and look in the windows created the curiosity which then drove them to come inside and start asking questions. The first step is to spark their interest, so they want to know more.”
In the future, there will be much more to know and see: Robots running programs designed by students, large-scale 3D print projects, laser engravings, CNC-machined parts and more.
“They will be able to see how quickly their classmates have learned a skill and be able to witness all of the amazing things they are able to do with this technology,” he said.
Anyone interested in the District’s CTE and Work-Based Program should contact Dayonte Grimes and DGrimes@Lapeerschools.org.