Alpena Public Schools, AMA-ESD Take Home Close to $2 Million in Funding for Career-Tech Education

In an effort to build workforce and skilled labor talent in Michigan, the state gave out more than $15 million in grant money and some of it is going to schools in Northern Michigan.

The state announced nine groups as the first recipients of grant funding from the Marshall Plan for Talent.

The Alpena Montmorency and Alcona Educational Service District (AMA-ESD) got nearly $2 million in funding.

At Alpena High School, the career tech education program is already state of the art and on the rise, now with $2 million in additional funding they are hoping to take the program to the next level.

“Now we have even more resources to take it that step further to become a leading career technical education program in the nation, [that] is our goal,” Alpena Public Schools Superintendent Dr. John VanWagoner, said.

Seven figures will only help, the money is going right back to where students from Alpena, Montmorency and Alcona counties will continue to get hands-on training.

“Machining, auto, medical, we have opportunity for those kids to stay in our area and be able to raise families in our area and be able to earn a good solid living wage in those fields,” VanWagoner, explained.

The superintendent says the grant will help keep equipment up to date, allow them to hire additional career counselors for students, and even provide more resources for teachers.

“It provides professional development to all of our teachers to hone their craft and be able to bring business partners in and work with them in some of the latest elements,” VanWagoner, added.

The career-tech center in Alpena is just about a year old but has already paid dividends for students.

“We work with all different types of woods and now with the laser engraver we can engrave very detailed work and all that. It’s different and fun,” Alpena High School Senior Teegan Hopp, said.

A fun way to gain skills that could be beneficial for both the students and local businesses down the line.

“We know they can come into [the] workforce and be able to help us grow and expand,” VanWagoner, said.