October 3, 2022
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Area teens to get hands-on career and technical training at GI-TEC’s summer camp – The Morning Sun

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Teens going into seventh, eighth and ninth grades will have the chance to participate in a variety of programs as part of the Gratiot Isabella Technical Education Center (GI-TEC) summer camp this month.

More than 90 students from eight schools in Gratiot and Isabella counties are participating in the camp from June 13-16 at GI-TEC, which is housed at Mt. Pleasant High School. The camp is free to students thanks to a $20,000 “Color a Brighter Tomorrow” grant from the Sherwin-Williams Foundation.

“We’re thrilled to open our students’ eyes to training and educational resources and opportunities available to them and support their career pathway exploration,” said GI-TEC Principal Mary Kay Voeks. “This camp exposes students to career expectations and skills in a fun educational environment where they’ll learn basic skills with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, art and math, or STEAM.”

Certified GI-TEC teachers will lead camp sessions on digital media, business management, culinary, drafting, automotive, graphic arts and medical careers.

The digital media camp program is run by Digital Media/Web instructor Patrick Onstott and gives a brief intro to different digital mediums like animation, photoshopping, video production, streaming and podcasting among other mediums.

Teens learn about the different types of digital media during the digital media program at the Gratiot Isabella Technical Education Center (GI-TEC) summer camp. (Sarah Wright-The Morning Sun)
Teens learn about the different types of digital media during the digital media program at the Gratiot Isabella Technical Education Center (GI-TEC) summer camp. (Sarah Wright-The Morning Sun)

“We’re cramming it into four days,” Onstott said. “Everyone came in as novices and with practice we hope we’re getting them excited about the GI-TEC program.”

For the drafting camp program, Technical Drafting/CAD instructor Aaron Kipfmiller helped students design and 3-D print pinewood derby cars that the campers could race at the end of the camp.

“The students will capture the designs on paper then adjust their designs as needed before the designs are transferred to a software program that will 3-D print the cars,” Kipfmiller said. “It takes 8 to 10 hours to print the cars.”

Technical Drafting/CAD instructor Aaron Kipfmiller helps students design pinewood derby cars during the drafting program at the Gratiot Isabella Technical Education Center (GI-TEC) summer camp. (Sarah Wright-The Morning Sun)
Technical Drafting/CAD instructor Aaron Kipfmiller helps students design pinewood derby cars during the drafting program at the Gratiot Isabella Technical Education Center (GI-TEC) summer camp. (Sarah Wright-The Morning Sun)

The automotive camp program is lead by Automotive Technology instructor ​​​Perry Wiles, who helped the kids learn about about the inner workings of cars.

“We’re trying to familiarize the students with some of the car components,” Wiles said.

As a part of the automotive camp, the local Mt. Pleasant NAPA Auto Parts also donated tool kits for the kids to take home.

While GI-TEC received grant funding in 2019, the camp has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. About half of the grant is funding the camp while the remainder paid for career and technical education equipment, including a power sander for construction, 12 3D printers, a drone, video equipment and interior design equipment. The center plans to seek additional grant funding to continue offering the camp at no cost to families going forward.

“GI-TEC is a wonderful resource for students in Mt. Pleasant Public Schools and other districts in Gratiot and Isabella counties, and this summer camp is a great chance for our younger students to get a taste for the types of skills they can learn if they enroll in GI-TEC program as high schoolers,” said Jennifer Verleger, superintendent of Mt. Pleasant Public Schools. “Career and technical education is a crucial part of preparing our students for success after graduation and helping to fill the talent pipeline.”

For more information, visit gi-tec.com.



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