High school students get hands-on experience at U.P. Professional Trades Career Day

South Central UP

GLADSTONE, Mich. (WJMN) – Approximately 500 students from Gladstone and the surrounding school districts had the opportunity to get some hands-on experience at the Upper Peninsula Professional Trades Career Day on Wednesday.

The event was made possible by the Upper Peninsula Construction Council.

“For the students to be able to come out and experience this at this time while they’re still doing the career exploration and know there are opportunities in this industry is what we’re all about,” said John Hartwell, the career and outreach representative of Operating Engineers 324. “Michigan has crumbling infrastructure and we want to make sure that we not only have Michigan residents but U.P. residents that are here to fix the projects that are happening in their hometowns.”

Whether it was physical or virtual, students learned how to operate machinery, tools, and what it takes to have a career in the trades.

“It’s definitely something to look into, it’s fun,” said Big Bay de Noc senior Kaitlyn Massengill. “And at first, you’re going to think ‘It’s just a bunch of boys, I don’t want to go into that class.’ But you get in there and you have a completely different perspective of everything. It’s really fun, I promise you, and it’s not scary.”

“I was terrified at first going into it but I’ve had a blast, and I’ve made a lot of new friends,” said Big Bay de Noc junior Katelyn Dekeyser.

The Upper Peninsula Construction Council will also be attending the Construction Management and Technology Career Fair at Northern Michigan University on September 30. The event is virtual and in-person. For more information, click here.

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