MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) – Michigan’s top career and technical education official toured several Marquette County schools on Thursday. Local 3 News caught up with him at his stop at Westwood High School.

Dr. Brian Pyles, visited some local high schools to gauge the success of career technical education in the U.P. Pyles toured many classrooms, labs and workshops, focusing on everything from computer aided design to welding, construction, health occupations and digital media. He met with students, teachers and community leaders involved in CTE programming, and says this type of education is ideal for those students looking to join the workforce or an alternative to 4 year universities.

“The importance of programming like this for students, and especially when they can be exposed to it in middle school, it oftentimes will turn their head to a career they would be interested in,” said Dr. Pyles. “Because maybe they don’t enjoy basic mathematics, English, science and social studies and they like to use their skills and through their hands and through their minds”.

Students in CTE programs have a 97% graduation rate in Michigan, compared to an 83% statewide rate.

Dr. Pyles also visited Marquette Senior High School and Negaunee High School. He said he was impressed with each school’s CTE instructors and programs.