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      Schools look to produce qualified workers to fill growing needs

      As manufacturing continues to evolve with each new piece of technology that becomes available, but unfortunately for many companies the workforce hasn't been able to keep up with the times.

      That's why Charlevoix school district is teaming up with Baker College to meet the growing demand for manufacturing workers.

      They will be hosting a new certification program for aspiring skilled trade workers and now they are looking for students for their first class.

      " What happens is people will apply for the job but when you give them the basic tests you realize that they are not capable of doing that ," David Reynier, Oliver Racing Parts CNC Programmer said.

      C ompanies like Oliver Racing Parts in Charlevoix say it has been a struggle to find qualified CNC workers, that are trained to operate computer run machines in factories and must have extensive training before they are hired.

      " From talking to local manufacture r s , it is definitely a growing need in that many of these manufacturers don't even post those jobs anymore because the skilled trade workers aren't here," Bob Gendron, Charlevoix Schools Superintendent said.

      S o to address this need , B aker College and Charlevoix schools will offer a new certification program to give hands on experience to anyone interested in a career.

      " You know it's not just a job , it's a career ," Gendron explained. "Y ou know it's a thing that you can do to make a lot of money, doing this job."

      T he certification program will take 30 weeks to complete and will make students qualified to take on a variety of jobs.

      " Most of the machines follow the same basic CNC principles if you can program in a lay you can program and run a mill or program a robot," Reynier said.

      T he school hopes that this program will not only boost the manufacturing sector , but also the economy.

      " By bringing new jobs and new opportunities and putting new people to work in the skilled workforce we can basically work out some of the economic development and strategy ," Gendron said.

      T he classes will be held at Charlevoix High School and is open to anyone in northern Michigan including the students in the district.