State, education, and business stakeholders applaud students entering workforce, hopes to help encourage young talent to consider the vast pipeline of opportunities
Two Clarkston High School students were honored at the inaugural Going PRO in Michigan Signing Week event for their dedication to pursuing high-wage, high-demand apprenticeships in the professional trades. Blake Beedle, a CHS senior OSTC student and Michael Farrell, a junior in the Clarkston Construction Technology Program, were among a dozen students recognized this week.
Gov. Whitmer has declared May 6-10 as Going PRO in Michigan Signing Week and in similar style to "National Signing Day" events for high school student athletes who commit to a collegiate sport, the Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan is thrilled to celebrate high school students who have committed to filling Professional Trades jobs right here in Michigan.
"This is an exciting time for these students as they embark on meaningful careers that will help us build vibrant communities and position Michigan as a home for growth and opportunity," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. "As these students work toward a successful career in the trades, it's our job to make sure they are afforded equal opportunities to be prosperous in this great state. Preparing our students for the 21st-century careers of tomorrow is a priority, by increasing postsecondary educational attainment to 60% by 2030, we accomplish just that."
During the Signing Day event at OSTC-NE, students will be joined by their peers, family and influencers as they sign a "letter of intent" with their employer or union and receive a certificate to proclaim 'I am Going PRO in Michigan' as a way to elevate and recognize their commitment to an apprenticeship or full-time employment.
"We need our Great Lakes State to have a competitive economy to further move us forward and position ourselves as an innovative leader in this country," said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II. "Our youth are our future and we need to invest, encourage and mentor them – right now – so they can fill the jobs we need in order to thrive."
With more than 545,000 open Professional Trades jobs in Michigan through the year 2026, the state needs to remove barriers and make way for the young talent that choose to get a jumpstart on their career, but also, help guide those who are unsure of their educational and career path.
"Just as Signing Day is a special moment in a student's athletic career, we want to create the same level of excitement for students who choose to enter the workforce in a Professional Trade after high school graduation," said Stephanie Beckhorn Acting Director of Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan. "Apprenticeships and Professional Trades jobs are a viable option, and as state officials, educators and business leaders we need to celebrate these students on their journey to finding the rewarding career that best fits them – and, our state."
The demand for highly trained skilled trades professionals continues to increase in Michigan, and experts anticipate the current shortage of Professional Trades workers will continue well into the next decade.
"It's important we encourage Michigan's young people to explore the high-demand, high-wage Professional Trades careers available across the state," state Sen. Ken Horn said. "By empowering the next generation of talent entering the workforce, we can help close the skills gap, while promoting Going PRO career opportunities for students looking for a formidable lifestyle."
Michigan is faced with an immense talent gap because we lack the skilled professionals to fill the jobs employers need. Career and technical education is a proven educational pathway to set students up for success and prepare them to be career and college ready. Most Professional Trades careers do not require a four-year degree, but all pathways require some form of advanced skills training.
"Being able to participate in this apprenticeship program was a great first step to starting my career in the trades. I really enjoyed my time in the LiUNA apprenticeship program and I'm excited to continue my career in the Professional Trades," said Brian Wing, LiUNA apprenticeship program alumni.
Schools and technical education centers are encouraged to participate in their own Signing Day events throughout the week in hopes to generate awareness among parents, educators and students about fulfilling and rewarding careers in Professional Trades.
Additional information about Going PRO in Michigan Signing Week and Professional Trades careers can be found at Going-PRO.com/signingweek.
About Clarkston Community Schools: Clarkston is a highly regarded school district with an enrollment of nearly 7,500 students. We have seven elementary schools (K-5), one middle school serving grades 6-7, one junior high for grades 8-9, and Clarkston High School, which serves students in grades 10-12. We also have an Early Childhood Center serving children ages 3-5, and an alternative high school/community education facility. Clarkston Community Schools students are well-prepared for a future that excites them, and believe that they can achieve their dreams. The mission of Clarkston Community Schools is to create a learning environment where students, staff, and families are challenged, healthy, engaged, safe, and supported.
Read more Clarkston Community Schools News at www.clarkston.k12.mi.us/news.
Media Contact: Mary Ellen Rowe, Marketing Director (248) 623-5460.