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MiSTEM Network camps introducing teens to trades

Michigan is dealing with a professional trade shortage, and the state predicts this will continue through 2023.

MiSTEM Network is working to fill the void.

Whether it’s welding, electrical manufacturing or robotics, students can learn what it takes through the MiSTEM Network summer camps.


“We’re trying to spark interest, plant a seed. So when they get to that next level after these, they’re like, you know what? That was really cool. I had a lot of fun. I want to do more of that,” explained Laura Percival, Region 12 Director for MiSTEM Network. “Or you know what? I did that, and it’s not for me because that’s an incredibly valuable lesson to know that you loved it.”

Victor Vogelheim and Michael Warner are in the C and C Machining Camp.

“We’re in the middle of making a blueprint right now. We’re supposed to be drawing it and were just taught how to use the software. So it’s new for many of us,” said Michael Warner.

“I’ve always wanted to do a career in, like, some sort of computer job. So I thought this would be fun,” added Victor Vogelheim.


Teagan Custard is in the Robotics camp, working with the Sphero Robot.

“We’re doing a programming thing where we’re doing challenges. The first one is to try to make it go to the middle and then come back and then like make it around a person and then make it come back to you,” explained Teagan Custard.

As part of the camps, students visit businesses related to their learning skills.

“Kids are our future. This isn’t just a benefit for our students but employers and communities. That’s what it’s about. We’re getting them to know and see these important trade areas as viable keys to our success,” said Jamie Huber, Superintendent for COP ESD.

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