Photo provided - Cody Reese (front row, center), a recent graduate of Constantine High School, will be a registered apprentice at American Axle and Manufacturing this fall thanks to the St. Joseph County Career and Technical Education program.Photo provided - Kennedy Cupp (front row, left), a recent graduate of Mendon High School, will be a registered apprentice with the IT help desk at Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services of St. Joseph County thanks to the St. Joseph County Career and Technical Education program.

County CTE program announces new apprenticeship opportunities

CENTREVILLE — A number of students in St. Joseph County’s Career and Technical Education program were recently recognized for being accepted as registered apprentices through the CTE’s consortium.

As an official sponsor for Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeships, St. Joseph County CTE is aiming to open up a new way for students to earn credentials in a career they are excited to enter while partnering with local employers to help grow their own workforce.

Students enrolled in a CTE program have the opportunity to apply for an apprenticeship which provides not only classroom instruction, but also paid on the job learning with a local employer.

“Our hope is that these students will complete the apprenticeship program by the end of their senior year or shortly after graduation,” CTE Work-Based Learning Coordinator Sarah Beckle said in a release. “But if it takes longer, we will continue to partner with the student and the employer to see them through the process to completion so that they can earn that Department of Labor credential.”

The new registered apprentices include Cody Reese, Kennedy Cupp, Troy Demas, Devin Dague and Gracey Loker.

Reese is a recent graduate of Constantine High School after completing two years in the CTE welding program. He will be a registered apprentice with American Axle and Manufacturing (AAM) in Three Rivers, the first student to be an apprentice there, rotating through different departments at the factory and getting a full understanding of the manufacturing process.

“The CTE Apprenticeship program is an extraordinary program that gives high school students an opportunity to experience real life career environments. This kind of effort gives these young adults the knowledge and training they need to make important career decisions and provides them with a significant head start towards their career path,” Jim Sutton, talent and organizational development leader at AAM, said in a statement. “American Axle and Manufacturing is excited to support this program and looks forward to supporting many of these students who show interest in the manufacturing sector.”

Cupp is a recent graduate of Mendon High School and completed the CTE Computer Networking & Cybersecurity program. Kennedy plans to take full advantage of the opportunity to expand her computer knowledge and skills in the field of information technology as a registered apprentice of the IT help desk at Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services of St. Joseph County.

Demas will be a senior at Constantine High School this fall, and will be returning to the Construction Trades-Residential Building program at Three Rivers this fall while continuing his apprenticeship with JD Yoder Construction. As part of his CTE class, Demas was instrumental in helping to complete two houses for Habitat for Humanity in Three Rivers.

Dague, who will be a senior at Sturgis High School this fall, recently completed her first year in CTE’s new Teacher Academy program. She began her registered apprenticeship at Pathfinder Education Center in spring and will continue working this summer and during her senior year of high school while enrolled in the second year of Teacher Academy.

Loker, who will be a senior at Centreville High School in fall, will also be a second-year Teacher Academy student this upcoming school year. She also began a registered apprenticeship at Pathfinder during her junior year and will continue through the summer and coming year. While not a part of the apprenticeship program but still exciting, Loker is looking forward to spending two weeks in the Dominican Republic on her second mission trip to work in a school with special needs students.

St. Joseph County CTE Director Jim Berry said in a statement the opportunities the students have received with being a registered apprentice is an “incredible opportunity” for students in the county.

“I am excited about the growth of our registered apprenticeship opportunities and am looking forward to future placements in partnership with other local businesses,” Berry said. “If it were not for the partnership with local employers willing to invest in our students and for the help of the staff at the Upjohn Institute for Employer Research/Michigan Works! Southwest, we would not be able to provide this opportunity for our CTE students.”

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