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Middle schoolers get hands-on experience in the trades with Northwest Education Services

TRAVERSE CITY - According to the Michigan Department of Labor and Opportunity, by the year 2030 Michigan will have more than 45,000 openings in professional trades annually.

A summer camp put on by Northwest Education Services in Traverse City is giving students a chance to experience what a future in the professional trades can look like.

“So it’s a it’s a taste about what the world has to offer after high school,” says Northwest Education Services Assistant Principal Matt Griesinger. “And now sometimes that’s the trades and other times that’s a post-secondary option. And it it really runs the gamut from future engineers to future teachers to future doctors to future professional writers and welders and machinists and auto technicians.”


Usually high schoolers run the halls at the Career Tech building, but for 3 days a summer around 140 students in grades 5th 6th and 7th are welcomed to get a taste of what their future may hold. The students can choose from 13 different classes ranging from welding and mechanics to e-sports and babysitting.

“You forget the kind of wonder and amazement that comes from a middle school student,” continues Griesinger. “So it’s nice to really get that kind of innocent and really true interest in getting their hands dirty and having fun for three days.”

Getting their hands dirty is exactly what they do. Middle schooler Rosie O’Brien was able to participate in a murder mystery simulation through the medical CSI class where they started at the scene of the crime.

“First we walk into our crime scene room here,” says O’Brien “We investigated the body. We first observed. We took notes, and we outlined the body with masking tape. We put all the evidence into a bag. And we came in here and we theorized about what could have happened with the murder. And we included that Dr. Chang, which is our lovely mannequin sitting here, walked into the room with his stuff, was shot from across the room.”


Because of this hands on experience it has sparked a potential future in this field.

“I think it’s just really kick started,” continues O’Brien “My passion for forensics and forensic science. I think I want to learn more and again, really get to just figure out and correctly deduct how a crime happened. Walking into that room, making observations and walking out with a firm theory.”

While parents may have missed the window to sign up, they can find out how to sign up for 2025 here.

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