Big Bay program aims at careers
GARDEN – Big Bay de Noc School is gearing up for its second year of a program aimed at keeping graduates in the community. The program, a collaboration between the school and the Garden Peninsula Economic Task Force, will focus on students’ skill sets and matching them with local careers.
According to William Pistulka, Big Bay de Noc School superintendent, the Career Awareness Program was developed in the hopes of the community “growing” its own leaders.
“If you look at rural populations and small schools, oftentimes, we lose these young adults to careers they pursue in cities elsewhere,” he said. “This is common in the U.P.”
The program will create awareness as to what careers are available, explained Pistulka, and what skill sets students will need to pursue those careers. Last year, the program focused on seniors, he said, but this year, the program will begin with sophomores and move upward.
These students will be tested, with the help of the Delta- Schoolcraft ISD, in order to measure their interests, aptitude, and their skill set, Pistulka explained. From there, the student will have the opportunity to listen to various speakers from the area, highlighting their specific career.
“We will bring in people from our area who have those types of careers or jobs students are interested in, and are able to still live here,” he said. “You can have the U.P. high quality of life while giving back to the community and having a good life.”
Students will also have the opportunity to gain exposure to the career of their interest, by either spending time on a job site or job shadowing.
“We would like to see the program maybe go into some of the other curriculum areas, such as English, where a student would outline their experience in a writing assignment,” explained Pistulka.
With the advancement of technology, more and more people are able to work from home or another location, Pistulka said – with geography becoming less of a factor.
“I have to give a lot of credit to the Garden Economic Task Force, who has been looking for ways to help the community progress,” he said. “They saw this opportunity in the education of our young people.”