On Nov. 10, 2020, ISD staff held a Career Tech to Careers signing event with Nick Wilson, a 2020 graduate of East Jordan High School. Wilson has started a career with Bader and Sons, an agricultural dealership selling John Deere equipment, parts and service with multiple locations around Michigan; Wilson is working from the Lake City facility. He was able to land the position, which is full-time and will include benefits, in part due to his enrollment in Career and Technical Education classes during high school. Wilson took welding, woodworking, linework and agricultural science CTE classes at his school and in neighboring districts.

At Bader and Sons, Wilson spends most of his time working to repair equipment, such as compact tractors, eventually transitioning to 8Rs and four-wheel drives. His title will soon be “ag service technician.” He started in his job in May 2020 and is continuing a 2-year associate’s degree program through Owens Community College in Toledo, where students only work on and learn about Deere equipment.

“I’ve learned to communicate better with people and work well with my hands. I’ve always been a real hands-on learner and things come to me more quickly that way,” said Wilson, about his new job. “I’ve learned how to problem-solve and brainstorm new ideas and ways to get jobs done more efficiently.”

HR manager Amie Post said Wilson was referred to the company for employment “as a young man with a good head on his shoulders and someone who was interested in the John Deere Power Up program (in Toledo).”

“We love partnering with local schools to get students in co-op positions or ones who want to go right into the workforce,” she noted.

His supervisor, service manager Chad Dodde, said Wilson is “always punctual and responsible, ready to go to work when he arrives on the job. Nick is always being challenged in a different way with physical and mental challenges. With this job you will never stop learning, it’s always an adventure.”

Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates specialist Mike Vandermus assisted Wilson with writing his resume and cover letter. “Nick is a great young man with a very high ceiling. He is always ready to work, and he shows his interest through his eagerness to learn and increase his knowledge in the field. Nick will be successful in anything he puts his mind to, and he has been great to work with and watch excel,” Vandermus said. JMG partners with Char-Em ISD Career and Technical Education to assist students with post-secondary planning.

Employers in the region continue to emphasize that skilled workers are in high demand, with good-paying wages and benefits in family-supporting environments. “These jobs are not being filled at a rate fast enough to keep up with those retiring, and the local demand for jobs that require skilled trades workers,” Vandermus added.

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