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      A new push for Middle College in the U.P.

      Thereâ??s a big push to make Career Technical Education more prominent in high schools as well as the creation of a middle college.

      Middle college is a collaboration between high schools and local colleges that allow students to gain both high school diplomas and an associateâ??s degree in a shorter period of time. Here in the U.P., a middle college is in the works to make Career Technical Education more accessible to high school students.

      Northern Michigan University is a potential launching pad for the new middle college. The university currently runs nine different CTE programs, all of which last one or two years.

      "Students come out rather quickly with a skill set, very low student education costs, and they hit the ground running when they get out in the industry and from there it's just what do they want to do and how much farther in the industry do they want to go," said Mark Matteson, Assistant Professor of the Aviation Maintenance Technology Program at NMU.

      Not only will future students get through these programs quickly, but they will get a quality education at a price that cannot be beaten. For instance, students interested in Automotive Service Technology will enter a program at NMU that is on track to becoming accredited through the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation.

      â??They gain a solid background knowledge on automotive theory, they get hands on experience; weâ??re updating the latest electronic equipment,â?? said Jerry Bugni, Automotive Instructor at NMU.

      The Aviation Maintenance Technology Program is also very unique. The program is only one of five that are offered in the state, making it a very valuable opportunity.

      â??Itâ??s a high intensity education. It gets you prepared to become an FAA Certified airframe and power plant mechanic,â?? Matteson said.

      This is just a fraction of what is offered by NMU.

      For high school students, having these options early on should not only increase the interest in CTE programs, but also help fill a void in the job market.