6 / -5
      4 / -9
      18 / -15

      High schoolers working as carpenters

      For two hours a day, these high schoolers are construction workers. NICE Community Schools, with Negaunee and Ishpeming High Schools, work together to educate these students away from a classroom. The 18 students are in the Building Trades Program. They are constructing a two-story storage building for Dave's Collision Center in Ishpeming Township from scratch.

      "It's really refreshing to get outside the classroom and be able to work outside and work with your hands in this environment, being interactive with tools and being able to learn more outside the classroom," said R.J. Poirier, a senior at Ishpeming High School.

      The program gives them a leg-up in the working world, allowing them hands-on experience that could help them get into college or find a job. Jason Jessen of Westwood has been leading the program for five years. He says it's an invaluable experience for these students.

      "They get to do this work, they get to be outside every day and they kind of get to get a feel if this is what they want to do once they get out of school," said Jessen.

      Westwood senior Josh Gosseck has been in the program for two years. He says he prefers to pursue a military career over construction but loves that he has learned so many new skills.

      "If you ever want to do some carpentry or regular old housework, it's good to know how to use those tools and skills in general," said Gosseck.

      Westwood High School leads the program. School officials say they plan to expand the program for next year with a second instructor allowing for possibly double the amount of students.