Greater Michigan Construction Academy collaborates with Midland County Schools to begin high school skilled trades program

Midland, MI   
August, 2014
Bridget Sadenwater

A new joint venture between Midland County Schools and The Greater Michigan Construction Academy (GMCA) begins this school year, with the goal of providing interested district students an early start on apprenticeships into skilled trades. A total of 12 juniors from the district’s high schools will make up the inaugural class of the GMCA Construction Pre-Apprenticeship Program, according to Jimmy Greene, the CEO for The Greater Michigan Construction Academy.

Those juniors, should they complete the program that runs through this year and next, when they would be seniors, will earn 1 1/2 years of the required 4 year equivalency to become an apprentice in selected skilled trade careers.  Greene said, because it was a pilot program, he “had no idea” how many students would sign up. “I didn’t know if it would be three, or five, or what. I’m beyond pleased with the response. “Next year we’re expecting 4 times that number”

Here’s how the program will work, at least this school year, which starts today, as Midland ESA will assess its performance and impact:

  • Students will convene at GMCA
  • Monday through Friday, from 7:30 to 9:30 am, for instruction and hands-on
  • training in various disciplines related to skilled trades.
  • At 9:30 am, the students will
  • travel back to their high schools, where they will take core classes such
  • as English and math.

As the students move through the skilled trades content, they will receive certification of each module through NCCER. The Midland County ESA will monitor the program for the district.

Greene credited Midland County ESA Superintendent John Searles and Don Johnson as well as the 4 other County Superintendents from Meridian, Coleman, Bullock Creek, and Midland Public for embracing the program and seeing the potential value for students who might want to pursue a specific career path. “It required district buy-in. It’s a nontraditional program,” Greene said. “Traditionally, in a school we’ve put kids on the pathway to college, but that’s not what all students want to do.

Stephanie Davis, GMCA’s Director of Education said; “There is opportunity for students who want this type of work. The jobs are there – the employers definitely need skilled workers.  Through this program, students will get a head start on obtaining the skills they need to begin their
careers.”  Students who complete the program will have the opportunity to continue their training through GMCA for full certification credentials. Mrs. Davis said that demand is so great for young workers to enter skilled trades, some employers will pay to have workers finish, as long as they agree to work for them for a period of time.

For more information and class descriptions, fees, and registration contact GMCA at (989) 832-8879. Email Stephanie at or you can visit our web site at


GMCA’s mission is to Educate thru collaboration of the Construction Industry. Our Membership, Employees, and Communities; to develop Professional Workplace Competencies and Skills while promoting the Construction Industry as a Career Choice. For more information contact us at
989.832.8879 or