The Alliance’s new program SHIFT aims to raise awareness of professional trades careers
Iron Mountain, Mich., (September 30, 2022) – The Dickinson Area Economic Development Alliance joins Bay College West, the Dickinson-Iron ISD Tech Center, Michigan Works, and local manufacturers in marking Manufacturing Day on Friday, October 7. The event brings together ninth-grade students from area schools to interact with local manufacturers to learn about careers in the professional trades.
“After two years of virtual Manufacturing Day activities, we are thrilled to be meeting in person again at Bay College West,” remarked Lois Ellis, director of The Alliance. “We expect 300 students from Kingsford, Iron Mountain, North Dickinson, Niagara and Norway to be in attendance.”
This event is the first under The Alliance’s new SHIFT Professional Trades Careers program. The SHIFT program’s purpose is to raise awareness of the available career paths in the professional trades that are available to individuals upon graduation from high school.
“Our goal with SHIFT is to not only raise awareness of the outstanding opportunities at area employers but also to help students understand that they can have a successful career without attending a four-year university,” shared Ellis. “Those working in the professional trades play a crucial role in the health of our local economy. We need to shift perspectives about what a successful career looks like after high school graduation.”
Manufacturing Day is one opportunity for students to explore working in the professional trades. Students will also have an opportunity to learn about the available educational paths through the Dickinson-Iron ISD Tech Center and Bay College to earn while they learn.
More information about SHIFT and facts about professional trades careers are available at www.daeda.org/shift.
Breitung Township Schools (BTS) was founded in 1925 and was initially comprised of several local neighborhood schools. In the early 1920s, the construction phase of the schools was described as a ‘splendid cooperation’ within the community. The current Kingsford High School was completed in 1964 with several changes since, while Woodland Elementary and Kingsford Middle School construction were completed in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The current Flivver Field is home to the football field, track and tennis courts. The outdoor athletic facilities renovation was part of the Kingsford Middle School construction.
BTS services more than 2000 children from childcare for toddlers through high school graduation and offers many curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular programming. Our school mascot is likely the most unusual thing about our district, according to those unfamiliar with our community’s history. The “Kingsford Flivver” is a car modeled after the 1923 Model T Ford. It connects our school to the community’s history as one of the first factories built by Henry Ford, which makes students, staff members, and alumni proud to be Flivvers.
Some of the greatest challenges have been exceptional growth opportunities. As our school population continues to grow, we’ve had to adapt our plan to account for growth. Our community has been very supportive by providing the necessary funding to build and maintain exceptional school facilities through a bond in 2011 and a sinking fund in 2017. Staffing is difficult for all schools; however, we have been fortunate to hire exceptional staff members who want to be associated with and part of BTS. Prospective staff members learn about our school district through mock interviews, job fairs, advertising and our social media presence. We are competitive when attracting new staff members and have adjusted the salary schedules to be competitive with other industries and school districts.
Dickinson County and, more specifically, the Breitung Township School District residents have been excellent supporters of the schools. There has always been and continues to be a great deal of support for the school facilities, co-curricular programs and extracurricular activities. Additionally, schools in the area tend to be the hub of activities, with multiple community groups using the facilities for events like craft shows, art shows, community concerts, and youth sporting events/camps.
One thing that is somewhat unique to our area and school district is that Breitung Township Schools and Iron Mountain Public Schools cooperate to maintain a robust community schools program. Iron Mountain-Kingsford Community Schools program provides exceptional service to the area by providing multiple youth and adult recreation opportunities, alternative education, GED programming, and adult education.
Breitung Township Schools maintains a comprehensive PK-12 education program. In addition to the traditional curriculum, BTS offers a wide variety of special programs and enrichment opportunities, including six AP classes as well as very strong Music, Art, Physical Education and elective programs at all levels.
Over the past several years, Breitung Township Schools has implemented a STEM education program. This initiative is true to the heritage of Dickinson County and is supportive of the strong local manufacturing economy. Local businesses have been very active in this initiative through participation in the annual Woodland Elementary School STEM Education Night and District Robotics competitions held at Kingsford Middle School. Traditional courses also incorporate STEM concepts as well, and there is a strong connection with the Dickinson-Iron Technical Education Center.
In addition, all of the traditional openings of school activities and fall extracurricular events will be taking place soon. The fall of 2022 will bring great excitement to BTS with many improvements to our facilities. Such improvements include:
KMS blue gym renovation to be completed
KHS multipurpose room to be completed
KHS band room to be renovated to add new storage
KHS auditorium updates will be in progress
It’s an exciting time to be part of the Breitung Township Schools community.
Gov. Whitmer announced the expansion of LP Building Solutions with the MEDC today. This $194 million expansion will create 50 jobs while retaining the current 151 jobs already at the site and it will be one of the largest projects supported by the MSF in the upper peninsula. With the support of a Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant, Michigan was chosen for the project over competing sites in the U.S. and Canada.
To meet growing customer demand, LP plans to convert its Sagola Township operations from the manufacture of oriented strand board to LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding, a large-scale conversion project with the potential for future expansion of a second processing line, which would create additional investment and employment opportunities in the region.
“We are excited to see this significant investment in the LP Sagola facility,” said DAEDA, Executive Director, Lois Ellis. “The project will align the plant to produce a high-value product and provide 50 additional family-sustaining jobs with excellent wages and benefits for area residents.”