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Traverse City Career Tech Center and Michigan Tech Extend Partnership

High school students with an interest in engineering have some automatic support from one university here in Michigan.

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The Engineering Academy at the Career Tech Center in Traverse City is expanding its partnership with Michigan Technological University. The agreement with Northwest Education Services provides a college-level boost, a guaranteed scholarship money and training for in-demand careers.

“I’m proud of the 21 programs and this Engineering Academy is just another one that continues to shine,” says Northwest Education Services Superintendent Dr. Nick Ceglarek. “We’ve seen our enrollment over the course of the last three years increase, even in a time where in in our regional enrollment seems to be staying flat. So I think it’s a testament to individuals seeing that the Career Tech Center is a viable pathway for a meaningful life.”

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The Career Tech Center’s Engineering Academy bring high school juniors and seniors into the world of engineering, getting hands on experience and exposure to options after high school. Spencer Cobb is a senior in the Engineering Academy. “I kind of got into it, I was always interested in, like, hands on mechanical type learning. It’s my second year here, and I’ve just really enjoyed the program thus far.”

The CTC and Northwest Education Services have an ongoing partnership with Michigan Tech.

Ceglarek says, “three years ago, we established a relationship and partnership with Michigan Tech University where the students that go through our engineering academy upon completion have a direct admit into Michigan Tech as well as a $4,000 scholarship, $1,000 renewable for four years.”

On Thursday, both sides signed on to a new agreement and an extension that gives these students a direct pathway to college with a scholarship.


“Michigan Tech has been a really long time partner of this program. Faculty are incredible. The student project work, the opportunities they have are just unparalleled,” Cassy Tefft de Muñoz Michigan Technological University’s Executive Director of Enrollment Initiatives, says. “We’re here to renew that commitment to this district and to continuing those pathways and access opportunities for students.”

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Once these high school students graduate they can get direct admission to Michigan Tech with a $1,000 scholarship for each of their four years. That’s appealing to Cobb.

“After high school, I’m hoping to go to college. I’m highly considering Michigan Tech based on their mechanical and hands on learning there. (I’m) looking to go for some type of engineering, whether that be electrical or mechanical,” he says.

Michigan Tech has more than 120 degree programs, about 20 of them specifically targeting engineering. And they’re hoping that these students that are preparing for in-demand careers will consider a stop at Michigan Tech in Houghton in the western U.P. “There is a demand for engineering and technical based work,” Cobb says. “I don’t have a dream job at this point. I’m still kind of undecided, but definitely looking into engineering.”


“At Michigan Tech, all of our students are smart. Students who go into engineering typically are problem solvers. What makes students from this particular program unique is that they also have the resilience and the grit. That really is what helps a student succeed at Michigan Tech especially, but really in any engineering major at any university,” Tefft de Muñoz says. “For us, it’s about finding the right students who are also the right fit. The student who goes to Michigan Tech is also more than likely admitted to U of M, to MIT, to, you know, really top tier institutions across the country. But from a cultural fit, it’s sometimes very hard to find students that will succeed in an environment like Houghton, sort of a smaller college town, like really personal feel. And students here in the engineering academy are quite accustomed to having those same faculty ratios that we have. So, you know, we’re here to help find students that are the right fit and help introduce them to different opportunities that they might not know exist.”

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The program now offers options beyond the typical school year, Ceglarek says. “We also have included in that Memorandum of Understanding, ways in which we can offer summer programing through Michigan Tech and the Career Tech Center being able to make sure that we’re exposing our students to the idea of becoming an engineer and the career pathway that’s in front of them.”

“It’s our hope that we can help an area like Traverse City, which, you know, sort of small or medium-sized town in the state to really develop its talent pipeline. And we hope that some of those students will decide to come to Michigan Tech, get a great degree, and then come right back here and continue to develop this community,” Tefft de Muñoz adds.

Cobb says it’s an option he’d encourage other students to consider, too. “Anyone who’s considering a technical trade should definitely check out anything at the Career Tech Center. I have a bias towards the engineering program because I just think it’s great. It’s a little bit different than everything else. It’s a four hour (daily) program, but the skills you learn here are definitely different than any high school experience. And I would consider it.”

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For more on the Engineering Academy, click here.

For more on Michigan Tech and its programs, click here.

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