When Wyatt Troyer moved his tassel from right to left on graduation day June 2, 2024, at Petoskey High School, he already had a full-time, benefits-provided job waiting for him: Working as a technician at the oil change service center at Dave Kring Chevrolet in Petoskey.

Troyer credits the skills he learned in the Automotive Technology program at Petoskey High School, under instructor Adam Hausler, for giving him the skills needed to launch a career right after graduation.

“Mr. Hausler is such a good teacher. He really cares about students who are going out into the workforce and providing them with the skills they will need,” said Troyer. “I regret that I didn’t take his class for two years instead of just one.”

Troyer was recently celebrated by Char-Em ISD with a “Career Tech to Careers” signing event at Dave Kring Chevrolet. Career Tech to Careers events were established by Char-Em’s Career and Technical Education Department to recognize high school students who pursue careers after graduation based in part on their enrollment in career tech classes in high school.

Theron Reibel, service manager at Kring, said Troyer is at least the seventh student that has come out of the Petoskey program that they have hired into full-time positions  – a trend he hopes continues.

“They come out of the automotive program at the high school with solid foundational skills,” said Reibel. “Wyatt has been dependable and is not afraid to ask questions. He retains knowledge quickly, has a great attitude and fits in well with our team.”

Troyer has been working for Kring since January 2024, as part of the “co-op,” aka “work-based learning” opportunity that has returned to many local school districts, in part due to the regional career and technical education millage. The millage dollars have helped to place school-to-work coordinator positions, known as Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) specialists, in each of the ISD’s 11 local districts. Their role is to help connect students like Troyer with employers for possible long-term career opportunities after high school.

Since January, Troyer worked part-time learning the ropes at Kring while earning both a wage and credits toward his high school graduation as part of the co-op program. As of Monday, June 3 – the day after graduation – Troyer became a full-time employee, which includes benefits such as retirement and health care. 

He now works 5 days a week, starting daily at 8 a.m. working on customers’ vehicles as an oil lube technician. “I have enjoyed it very much. I have definitely learned how to work with the team here and also how to find information on how to diagnose and service various types of vehicles,” he said.

He also has been reckoning with leaving his youthful days behind as a student and now being part of the full-time local workforce. “I’m sad and excited at the same time. I enjoyed being able to have fun and be around friends all the time at school, but now I get to do what I actually want to do. And the people here are great to work with,” said Troyer. 

Char-Em ISD extends a special thanks to the Mansfield Family Foundation for continuing to support these signing events with gift cards for the new employees to purchase necessary tools and equipment for their job

Photo caption: Pictured are (front row, from left) Cathy Schanski, JMG Specialist; Jim Rummer, Char-Em ISD Director of Career and Technical Education; Wyatt Troyer, 2024 Petoskey High School graduate and employee at Kring; Theron Reibel, Kring service manager; Sarah MacLean, Petoskey High School counselor; (back row) Tracy Beckley, JMG Specialist; Scott Koziol, Char-Em ISD Superintendent; Hannah Sanderson, Char-Em ISD CTE Consultant; and Matt Kring, Dave Kring Chevrolet vice president. 

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