On Nov. 11, 2020, ISD staff held a Career Tech to Careers signing event with Dom Pelaccio, a 2020 Pellston High School graduate. Pelaccio has started a career at Pellston Auto Repair, owned by Donn Juday. Pelaccio now works about 50-55 hours per week since starting at the auto repair facility in February 2020. He was able to land the position in part due to his enrollment in Career and Technical Education classes during high school, including welding and construction.

Pelaccio also worked closely with Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates Specialist Mike Vandermus in securing the position. JMG works alongside Char-Em ISD’s CTE staff in helping students with career and college readiness.

“Dom is a hard worker and extremely dedicated when he finds something he enjoys,” said Vandermus. “He has been great to work with and set a great example for other students that lack interest in traditional school subject, but who enjoy the trades. He has showed that with perseverance and good choices, you can accomplish your goals and career aspirations.”

As a mechanic, Pelaccio works on traditional car mechanic duties while he also pursues certifications in various specialty areas such as brakes. “It’s a fun job and I really enjoy it,” he said. “I’ve always been focused on mechanics. It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Pellston welding instructor Roger Armantrout said he’s proud to see more CTE students heading into the workforce after high school and finding good-paying jobs that are in high demand – a win for the graduates and local businesses. “It’s picking up a lot of traction and it’s really a win-win,” he noted. “The market is wide open when it comes to the skilled trades.”

He said the skilled trades classes in Char-Em allow students to pursue what interests them, which can spark interest more than some traditional classes. “You try to let them do what they are interested in, so they can find success after high school,” Armantrout added.

Repair shop owner Juday said Pelaccio “reminded me a lot of myself when I was younger. We took him on before the (pandemic) shutdown, and after we were able to extend his hours and he was hired on full-time. He always has a good attitude and he fits in very well here. He’s dependable and a quick-learner.”

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