What is CTE?

Career & Technical Education (CTE) trains high school students in a wide range of high-wage, high-skill, and high-demand careers. It provides entry-level skills and industry certifications that allow students to join the workforce immediately after graduation. It also enables students to earn college credit(s) to continue on a path towards a degree.


What is our goal?

We wish to continue to provide and expand opportunities to high school students in the Copper Country for relevant training and career exploration, provide technical and employment skills for students to be successful in their chosen career field, and provide our community with future trades people, health care workers and college graduates to meet the needs of local businesses in the Copper Country.

Why do We Need CTE?

CTE is necessary for many reasons. To start with, basic job training is a necessity. For every job that requires a graduate degree, two require a university degree and seven require an associate or technical degree. CTE provides a path to all these degrees in addition to providing a path straight to the job market. This is helpful, as there are over 96,000 unfilled jobs in Michigan (according to information at www.mitalent.org). As a result, CTE opportunities will help improve our local economy.

Why is the CCISD seeking a Career & Technical Education Millage?

With the current funding model, CTE programs have been running a deficit each year. Tough choices have to be made, and the future of CTE is in jeopardy. If approved, a millage would provide additional revenue specifically for CTE classes.

Over 80 businesses were surveyed about their employment needs:

  • 62% indicated future talent needs
  • 54% indicated the current CTE classes are vital to their organization
  • 46% indicated more CTE classes are needed

Over 20 meetings and presentations were held during the past year. A steering committee was formed, made up of 30 community members from various industries, including logging, banking, education, engineering, manufacturing, healthcare, as well as city managers, township supervisors, and agencies such as Michigan Works. The steering committee believes it is in the best interest of this community to seek a millage.

What Would the Millage Provide?

The millage would maintain existing programs as well as introduce new programs.


Maintained programs in Baraga County:

  • Accounting
  • Construction
  • Health Careers
  • Machine Tool

Maintained programs in Houghton County:

  • Auto Tech
  • Health Careers
  • Certified Nurse Aide

Proposed Programs to be added:

  • Welding
  • Culinary Arts
  • Computer Aided Drafting
  • Computer Programming
  • Computer Networking
  • Early Childhood
  • Marketing
  • Graphic Design
  • Expand Construction Trades

How much will it cost?

1 mill for ten years will produce $1,233,000 per year to maintain the current CTE programs and establish new CTE programs.
It will cost $1.00 for every $1,000 of taxable value.

If your home is worth… …then it will cost you
$50,000 $25 a year/$2.09 a month
$100,000 $50 a year/$4.17 a month*
$150,000 $75 a year/$6.25 a month
$200,000 $100 a year/$8.34 a month

*Most Copper Country residents will pay this amount or less

How does the CCISD compare to other ISDs?

  • 35 ISDs in Michigan have CTE programs available to students funded by a regional millage
  • Currently, Gogebic-Ontonagon ISD, Dickinson-Iron ISD, Eastern UP ISD, and Delta-Schoolcraft ISD all have a dedicated CTE millage and provide many CTE opportunities.
  • The Copper Country ISD ranks 43rd out of 56 ISDs for current total regional millage support.

Quotes from Our Students

“I learned real-life skills in a low-pressure high school setting by real professionals.”

“I feel more optimistic about my future and career path.”

“I have learned to work better with groups, and I feel I have bettered my leadership skills.”

“I learned valuable life skills that I will keep with me for the rest of my life.”

Success Stories


picture of Dr. Rebecca Vollrath


Helping Animals
Dr. Rebecca Vollrath

picture of Paul Roose

Forging a Future
Paul Roose

Picture of Carl Olson

CTE, It Works
Carl Olson

Picture of Tom Hicks and David Narhi

On the Road: Copper Country Ford
Tom Hicks & David Narhi

Picture of Roger Hill and Michael Scott

On the Road: Keweenaw Automotive
Roger Hill & Michael Scott

Picture of Leanna Miller

Health Care
Leanna Miller

Many of the new programs will be a result of collaborations with the colleges and universities in our area

Logo for Finlandia University
Logo for Gogebic Community College
Logo for Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College
Logo for Michigan Technological University

<span>Words</span> <span>from</span> <span>the</span> <span>Community</span>

Brian Donnelly

“I talk to businesses all around the area, and I always ask them what the biggest challenge they face is. The most common answer is ‘Finding employees with the skill set that I need.’ And they aren’t looking for someone with a 4 year degree, they want an employee with technical skills that can be immediately put to use. I think more CTE will help address a major issue that holds back our economy.”

Brian Donnelly
Market Manager - River Valley Bank

Jerald (Jerry) Wuorenmaa

“Comprehensive CTE opportunities benefit not only students but industries that rely on skilled trades. CCISD’s programs should be expanded to level the playing field for education and economic growth across the Western U.P.”

Jerald (Jerry) Wuorenmaa
Executive Director - Western U.P. Planning & Development Region (WUPPDR)

Tim Marczak

“I appreciate the opportunities the CTE program gives to my students. Not all of our graduates are college bound students. CTE gives them the actual career training they need to be successful in the work force.”

Tim Marczak
Prinicpal - Baraga Area Schools

Kip Beaudoin

“CTE programs provide the best-trained labor forces, because they respond to local needs and are an investment that stays local ; more importantly, they have made a real difference in the lives of students.”

Kip Beaudoin
Principal - Hancock High School

Susan Tollefson

“CTE course offerings provide an opportunity for high school students to get first-hand experience in a career field. This is invaluable to helping them determine their career path as they actually get to be that role for a while.”

Susan Tollefson
Superintendent - L’Anse Area Schools

Bob La Fave

“A common theme continues to come up in conversations with business: the need for skilled trades workers. CTE programs are vital to economic development efforts in our region and to helping our young people find good jobs. CTE is a win for students and their communities.”

Bob La Fave
Manager - Village Of L’Anse

Glenn Anderson

“While the Copper Country has a proud tradition of educating and preparing our high school students for college degree programs, we have clearly underinvested in preparing our students who do not seek higher education. The answer, invest more in career and technical education at the high school level to prepare these students for entrance to the local work force upon high school graduation.”

Glenn Anderson
Hancock City Manager

Jacqueline Huntoon

“Enhancing precollege students’ access to relevant CTE programs will clearly benefit students. Enhanced access will also increase the number of students who are prepared to become Michigan’s high-tech workforce in the future.”

Jacqueline Huntoon
Provost and VP for Academic Affairs - Michigan Tech University

Jeff Ratcliffe

“For the economy of the Keweenaw Peninsula to thrive, our businesses must have access to a workforce with a diverse array of skills and abilities. While college degrees are important for some jobs, most require a technical education. A robust CTE program can meet this demand.”

Jeff Ratcliffe
Executive Director - Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance

Cherilynn Lampinen

“Strong CTE curriculum and program options help provide local employers with the talent they need to compete in a global marketplace. As Michigan Works! connects with the business community throughout the U.P., we see that our employers need workers now and in the future with skills that are provided through robust CTE drivers. Having these opportunities available helps the region build the worker pipeline of the future for employers, and helps residents find good family sustaining jobs.”

Cherilynn Lampinen
UPWARD Talent Council - Michigan Works!

Mark Massicotte

“CTE programs have a substantial impact on the entire community they serve. The opportunity to experiment at the hands-on level can provide insight for the participants and, at the same time, align the expectations of prospective employers. This is a starting point for building careers, not just filling skilled jobs.”

Mark Massicotte
Owner - L’Anse Manufacturing

Scott Dianda

“We need to help our children get ready for the 21st century economy. For some, that will mean preparing them for a traditional four year degree path. For others, a career in agriculture, manufacturing, or skilled trades is their ticket to a prosperous, stable future. We can grow our local economy by providing our children with a strong CTE curriculum that prepares them to enter the workforce after high school.“

Scott Dianda
State Representative - Michigan's 110th House District

Tom Casperson

“We need to do a better job of ensuring our children are career ready. Career Technical Education is a profound part of that mission. There is no question that there are careers at the ready as employers across the U.P. repeatedly tell me that they are in real need of individuals with technical skills and ability.”

Tom Casperson
State Senator - District 38

Tom Casperson

“It is my belief that robust CTE programming not only addresses local needs for both students and employers alike, but also makes a critical investment that stays local – our children, children who are career ready to enter the workforce.”

Tom Casperson
State Senator - District 38

Angela Bates

“As the Director of Nursing at Houghton County MCF I feel the health careers and Certified Nurse Aide programs offered by the ISD are crucial for the area. We hire many students who have completed these programs. There is a very high demand for CNA’s in our area.”

Angela Bates
Director of Nursing - Houghton Co. Medical Care Facility

Todd Brassard

“We must provide the young people in our community with opportunities to succeed. Graduating students from high school with the necessary education and experience to immediately thrive in the workforce serves not only the student and eventually their families, but also fills a vital role in the future success of our local businesses and industry. Obtaining college degrees is the path for some, but many will choose to immediately join the workforce. We need these young people today, now. Providing our high schools with a strong Carrier and Technical Education (CTE) program insures that every student has ready access to a brighter future while simultaneously filling the needs of business and industry. With these imperatives in mind, I adamantly support the opportunities provided to high school students by a strong CTE program.”

Todd Brassard
Vice President/COO - Calumet Electronics Corp.

Jeff Lang

UP Health System Portage has a long standing relationship with C.T.E. programming through the Copper Country Intermediate School District, primarily through their Health Careers class. Being part of the educational process with young people has helped us grow as an organization and has led to many improvements in the way we care for patients. It has also helped us by giving career specific experiences to young people who have joined us as employees after graduating high school. The really exciting thing about the CTE Health Careers program is that many students that went through the program experienced the “health care calling” and went on to pursue advanced degrees, such as medical doctor, doctor of pharmacy and doctor of physical therapy.

Jeff Lang
Chief Executive Officer - Up Health System Portage
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