Ten Things About the Career-Tech Center

Jason Jeffrey 2014_5527

In 1975, the voters in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties approved a millage to support regional programming for vocational education. Retired Career Tech Center Administrator, Jack Drew, was instrumental in the success of that referendum. The following year, the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District Career-Tech Center (TBAISD CTC) was created through the renovation of an unoccupied industrial building.

As a result, local students were first able to access ten career and technical education programs on the site or at satellite locations. To date, the Center has served tens of thousands of students. Many continue to live, work and contribute as citizens within our region.

Here are 10 more things you might not know about the TBAISD Career-Tech Center.

  1. Numerical Control – the precursor to modern CNC machining– was invented on what is now the site of the Career-Tech Center by John Parsons and Frank Stulen in the 1940s. Today, the converted factory is a 135,000 square foot technical education facility operated by the TBAISD.
  2. On average, more than 1,000 high school juniors and seniors from Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau counties attend the CTC each year. Students typically spend approximately 2.5 hours per day attending classes at the Center and obtain additional education at their home high school. While schools across the region have been experiencing declining student enrollment, CTC program enrollment remains steady.
  3. The staff at the tech center are highly-skilled educators who bring real-world experience and industry-recognized credentials into the classroom. For example, CTC students work with certified teachers who also hold credentials such as Master Electrician, ASE Certified Mechanic, Registered Nurse, Mechanical Engineer, and Chef, just to name a few.
  4. CTC is, by definition, a “school of choice” since students are not required to participate or attend. Instead, offerings are market-driven. Occasionally, programs are closed due to low participation rates, changes in industry, or the job market. New programs are offered based on student interest and opportunities within the regional workforce.
  5. Students attend CTC as an extension of their high school schedule. Because of a regional millage, there is no charge to parents or bill back to the home school for attending CTC. An added benefit is that sending schools continue to be fully funded by the state for their CTC participants.
  6. Area juniors and seniors may attend any of the 21 state-approved technical education programs available through the Center. Seventeen are on site, two are housed at NMC’s Aero Park Campus and one, computer-aided drafting, is offered in a blended or partially online format. CTC students also have the opportunity to earn academic credit, typically in mathematics or English– with a certified teacher.
  7. Area business and industry support students and programming at the Center. Approximately four hundred business partners contribute by providing work-based learning opportunities through co-op placement or job shadowing, donations of tools and equipment, collaborative project participation and more.
  8. Each program has an advisory board that includes representatives from related business and industry. These volunteers meet regularly with program instructional staff to share expertise and help ensure that programs are up-do-date with the current practices from the field.
  9. The Career-Tech Center is recognized as a one of the state’s top technical education institutions.  In fact, its programs have been recognized with the Department of Education’s “Excellence in Practice” award for four out of the last six years.
  10. CTC students have the opportunity to earn college credits in each and every program through articulation agreements, direct credit options or the Early College, where 120 students have earned 2837 credits, saving parents an estimated $555,257 in tuition expense over the last four years.

Dr. Jason Jeffrey is the Assistant Superintendent for General and Career & Technical Education at the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District. He also serves as the chairman of the Talent District Career Council, which is the education advisory group for the region’s 10-county Workforce Development Board. For information about the CTC, contact him at 231.922.6200 or go to tbaisd.org.