CTE Academy shows students a direct link to future jobs
CTE Academy shows students a direct link to future jobs
Posted on 10/31/2018
Line of dignitaries and students with plaque

Utica Community Schools is redefining education through an innovative program that answers the question “why?”

The Stevenson Manufacturing, Automation, and Design Engineering (MADE) Academy is an innovative high school program that gives students a direct link between what they learn in their classroom to skills needed for success in college and the high-tech jobs of the future – the “why” behind school.

Congressman Levin with studentsCommunity leaders, school officials and MADE staff, students and faculty recently held a dedication/open house for the academy, which opened this school year. 

“What Utica Community Schools is once again doing is leading the effort to realize how much times have changed and how much education has changed,” said Congressman Sandy Levin.  “I want to take my hat to this school district for once again providing the leadership that is so necessary. You are the wave of the future, and may other places catch this wave.”

Stevenson MADE was designed from the ground up with business and industry leaders to create a pathway to the fields of fabrication (welding and machining), automation and design engineering. 

Speaking at the dedication, Macomb County Executive Mark noted that that academy reflects the district’s commitment to preparing students for the high tech field. 

“Utica Community Schools is a driving force in how we reconnect with these kids and give them an opportunity to see what’s out there,” Hackel said.  “With what you see happening here today, you (MADE students) have it made.”

Superintendent Dr. Christine Johns said Stevenson MADE will help create the future workforce for the international companies that are driving the region’s economy, such as the automotive, defense and health care industries.

“Through Stevenson MADE, we are creating the talent that will support the growth of Macomb County as a center of innovation,” she said.

Principal Steven Pfannes said that “every moment” of the students’ day will support their chosen career pathways students.

“All students are immersed in a design thinking process that encourages hands on work in a group environment,” Pfannes said. “This program challenges students to focus on the solutions to real-world and relevant problems.”

The program is the result of collaborative planning that brought teachers, business leaders and county and state education officials together. The program’s success reflects the district’s long history of creating relationships that support student learning, according to Board of Education President Gene Klida.

“We live in a district with an established tradition of every member of the community focused on education and support for our kids,” she said. “As board members, we respect the history of this district and its legacy of excellence. We respect the relationships, the people, and the very fabric of the student-centered approach that holds us together.”

Stevenson MADE began in September with 85 ninth grade students from Heritage, Davis and Jeannette Junior High School. A new grade level will be enrolled each of the next three years, until Stevenson MADE is a complete high school program that services nearly 400 students.

Students participating in the program can earn college credit and will graduate with workforce experiences and industry recognized certifications – opportunities that directly tie to the district’s mission that UCS students will successfully pursue post-secondary experiences after graduation.

“The research is clear that in our changing economy, successful post-secondary experiences are the ticket to every quality of life indicator,” Dr. Johns said. “Stevenson MADE has been created with our district’s mission in mind – to provide the pathways to their next stage in learning, the opportunity to earn college credit while in high school and the business partnerships that will open doors to successful post-secondary experiences.”