In recent years there’s been more emphasis on other educational options beyond high school.
Greater Michigan Construction Academy Vice President Stephanie Davis says the school on Wackerly Road, north of Midland, offers apprentice training in 11 different trades. Davis said the trades include carpentry, electrical, HVAC, welding, masonry, ironworks, pipefitting, sheet metal and plumbing.
The students are going to class one night a week after putting in a full day on the job. The apprentice training last four years and the students receive a national certification for successfully passing all the classes. The trades offer hourly wages of just under $21 an hour to over $27 an hour.
Years ago, Bryan O’Keefe watched his uncle do some welding and decided that’s his life’s goal. Today, he’s a student in the apprentice welding program. His favorite is sig welding, getting down in the dirt, grease and grime.
Students are traveling from Saint Charles and other Great Lakes Bay Region communities, usually traveling about an hour, to get training. The academy offers classes in 22 locations, including 14 high schools in the Midland and Lansing areas.