EAPS receives grant for new manufacturing lab

The grant will cover a little more than half the cost.
Escanaba Public Schools offering manufacturing classes
Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 4:50 PM EDT
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ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - An Upper Peninsula school district will offer new classes this fall, preparing students for a career in the trades.

“We saw a lot of connections to manufacturing within our local community and we thought that a manufacturing that would be a nice fit,” said Coby Fletcher, superintendent of Escanaba Area Public Schools.

A grant from the Upper Peninsula Manufacturing Consortium made it possible for Escanaba Jr./Sr. High School to turn the former woodshop into a new manufacturing lab. It’s a $300,000 lab but after the $167,000 grant, the district will only have to pay $130,000.

“Manufacturing has advanced significantly and so the high school portion of the program, to give you an example, has four courses,” said Fletcher.

Brian Sarvello, career and technology education director at MARESA says there are hundreds of manufacturing jobs available in the U.P.

“I know there’s a lot of U.P. manufacturers who would love to expand. The only thing holding them back is that lack of talent,” he said.

This new program will open the door to students for these manufacturing careers.

“It’s going to show young people that manufacturing is a career of the future and that it’s a great employment opportunity, but there’s a lot of cutting-edge technology that’s involved in manufacturing,” said Sarvello.

High school students can graduate with a certificate, allowing them to go straight into the workforce or continue their education at a junior college or university.

“Any one of those kids will have a leg up on their peers who may be coming out of a program where this type of lab is not available to them,” said Fletcher.

Escanaba Area Public Schools will have the manufacturing lab open to grades six through 12 starting this fall. The school will send more information on the new program shortly.

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