“If we could get more Zanes, that would be great.”
The day after he graduated from Petoskey High School in June 2023, Zane Myers took an important first step into the real world by joining the Young Professionals Program, which paired young adults with local businesses for skills training and, ideally, hiring into full-time positions. With an interest in working as an automotive service technician, Myers was matched up with Fletch’s in Petoskey for the 8-week summer program.
The plan worked.
In August, Myers was hired full time by Fletch’s as an oil, lube and tire technician in the service center.
“When I came in to work for my first day, they gave me a tour of the facility and began teaching me what I needed to know to work in the service center,” said Myers. “My goal was to get offered a full-time position after the Young Professionals Program, and I’d hoped they’d keep me if I did a good job.”
Myers, 19, was recently recognized as part of Char-Em ISD’s Career Tech to Careers initiative. Career Tech to Careers recognizes students who take career tech classes during high school and enter the workforce utilizing those CTE skills after graduation.
For Myers, his interest in pursuing a career in the automotive field was sparked during the Automotive Technology career tech course at Petoskey High School. As his high school career was winding down, he was made aware of the Young Professionals Program, a partnership among Char-Em ISD Career and Technical Education, other regional ISDs, Northwest Michigan Works!, and area businesses. Students accepted into the program were provided with job skills in their area of interest – such as automotive, construction and IT – while earning $17 per hour.
Myers said he came into the job with some skills that he learned during the automotive program and from his own interest at home working on vehicles. “The automotive class is a great class to take if you’re getting a car and would like to learn how to work on it yourself and maintain it,” Myers said.
He was quick to pick up other specific skills needed involving tire rotations and installs and oil changes on a variety of vehicle makes and models, and all-important “soft skills,” said Fletch’s Human Resources manager Abby Skop.
“With this team, we need employees who work well with their hands and who also have good communication skills, because they work closely as a team of 2 to 5 people,” Skop said. “Having the right personality, being punctual, and having integrity are big things with us. We haven’t seen a lot of employees coming to us directly out of local high school programs, but we would like to. If we could get more Zanes, that would be great.”
Skop said in the automotive service industry, HR managers like herself are looking for staff who are genuinely interested in being technicians, which involves manual labor and also strong thinking skills. “Zane has a passion for this work and wants to move forward in his career. It’s important to have a goal and keep moving toward it,” she added.
Myers said he would highly recommend career tech classes to high school students, because it can help narrow in on a career path without having to fully commit to paying for additional training. “If the course is in a career you’re interested in, it’s definitely better to test it out at high school before going and spending money at college and finding out it’s not something you actually enjoy,” he advised.
“Find something you enjoy,” he added. “It makes it easier to put the time into it that you need to for a career.”
The Mansfield Family Foundation has offered its support to the Career Tech to Careers initiative with a grant that funds gift cards to students to purchase equipment and/or clothing necessary for their new careers.
Do you know a recent high school graduate who make a great feature for Char-Em ISD Career and Technical Education Department’s “Career Tech to Careers” initiative? If so, please fill out this form and submit to our CTE team!
Photo caption: Pictured at the recent Career Tech to Careers celebration for Zane Myers are (front row, from left) Abby Skop, HR manager at Fletch’s; Jim Rummer, Director of Career and Technical Education for Char-Em ISD; Zane Myers, service technician at Fletch’s; Jeff Leslie, Superintendent of Petoskey Public Schools; (back row, from left) Hannah Sanderson, CTE Consultant Char-Em ISD; Tory Thrush, Career/College Readiness Consultant Char-Em ISD; Tamara Kolodziej, PHS counselor; and Cathy Schanski and Tracy Beckley, Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) specialists.