Traverse City Middle School Students Get Hands-on With Skilled Trades at Building Tomorrow

Thursday Traverse City middle schoolers got an opportunity to build a future in the skilled trades and construction industry.

It’s the 2nd Annual Building Tomorrow event hosted by Northwestern Michigan College, Home Builders Association of the Grand Traverse Area and local companies.

Megan Woods got hands-on with the kids and found out how this experience is shaping their future.

“My favorite part is that I get to play with the fire.”

Thursday and Friday are all about the hands-on experience for the interested and the curious.

Taylin Chinn is a seventh grader and says, “I really want to go into engineering, it just makes me more anxious to get there because it seems really fun and to get there and do it.”

Taylin’s friend Jasmine Kath, also a seventh grader says, “I thought it was going to be kind of boring but now that I’m here it’s actually a lot of fun.”

 Originally created for high schoolers, Building Tomorrow now focuses on giving middle schoolers the ultimate experience with NMC instructors and local companies.

One of the main organizers for the event is Dan Goodchild, Program Coordinator at NMC Construction and Renewable Energy. Goodchild says, “We want to start younger and generate that interest earlier and a lot of parents now a days just aren’t doing a lot of home improvement projects or whatever so kids aren’t even getting exposed.”

Tonya Wildfong, Team Elmer’s Marketing Director says, “When the kids make it in the basket they light up I mean they are so determined, they might miss the first two or three, we reset the course and they finally get one and they’re just ecstatic.”

Whether it’s cutting a piece of wood, soldering a pipe or moving heavy machinery the experience is one to remember not just for the fun, but for the exposure.

Wildfong says, “When kids get in it they really have a chance to see what kind of skill set it takes to be in the construction industry, the dexterity to be able to dig on a level ground.”

Allowing kids to have a future to build on.

Jasmine Kath says, “I thought I wanted to be an elementary school librarian, but now I see this is super fun I kind of want to do this now.”

On Saturday there will be an open house where kids from all over the region are welcome to join the fun. The open house is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at NMC Aero Park Laboratories.