On Dec. 6, 2021, Char-Em ISD staff held a Career Tech to Careers signing event with Caleb Boyer, a 2021 graduate of East Jordan High School, at Industrial Magnetics, Inc. (IMI) in Boyne City. Boyer joined the staff on Oct. 27, 21, as a welder working between 40-55 hours a week.

“Things are going really well so far,” said Boyer. “I really like how things are not the same every day on the job.”

Boyer is one of a growing number of young adults who are choosing to go into the workforce after graduating from high school, often into the skilled trades where positions are in high-demand for laborers such as welders, builders, vehicle and powersports repair, line work, among many other areas. Jim Rummer, Director of Career and Technical Education for Char-Em ISD, developed the idea of the Career Tech to Careers signing events to recognize students who are contributing to communities’ quality of life by choosing the skilled trades.

“Gone are the days when the skilled trades were viewed as a lesser option than post-secondary college. Today, they are on equal footing,” said Rummer. “We need young men and women to weld, to build houses, to choose health care and public safety careers. We need auto mechanics when our cars break down or are damaged. We need line workers to repair lines and restore power after storms. These jobs are critical to our lives. It’s time they are recognized as such.”

Casey House, Director of Operations at IMI, said while in the past it was less common to employ a young person right out of high school, it is becoming more so as the labor shortage continues. “Caleb presented a solid interview with our team,” said House. “He has a strong work ethic and the ability to work well with others – two key components to career success for any individual of any age.”

On the job, Boyer works in welding, assembly and communicating about projects with colleagues. He is an hourly worker eligible for “bonus hour” incentive compensation, a 401(k) with IMI match, as well as health, dental, and vision insurance or a cash payout if other coverage is available.

“Caleb is really progressing well and is a good fit for our organization,” House added.

Boyer said the welding program at East Jordan High School set him up for career success after graduation. “Soft skills” like communication and work ethic are part of the lessons in Dave Muladore’s class, he added. He advised others close to graduation to consider the skilled trades and to not feel pressure to attend college, but to follow their own interests.

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