- Sponsorship -

After gaining work experience, students sign contracts with area employers


Recently, students and teachers gathered in the Kelloggsville High School auditorium for a time-honored tradition: signing day. The tables on the stage had logoed caps and contracts just waiting for signatures from high school seniors, ready to commit to a team for the coming year.

But these teams don’t require spring training, hitting the weight room or anything athletic or collegiate, for that matter. These teams are businesses that have hosted students as part of a budding school-to-work program and the contracts offered full-time employment.

John Linker welcomes the crowd to his school-to-work program’s first annual signing day

“College isn’t always the route to go in terms of making money and being successful. The workforce provides a variety of jobs for you in case you don’t want to go to college,” said senior Ericberto Padilla, who signed a full-time employment contract to work in the rubber shop at Wyoming-based Mark-Maker Co. Inc. “If I decide not to go to college, this job gives me an opportunity to maybe go up in the ranks and make more money without having to go to college.”

Ericberto is one of 28 students — 24 seniors and four juniors — who participated in Kelloggsville’s school-to-work program, which partnered with nine companies that place students in paid positions for part of the school day. Of the seniors,10 signed full-time employment contracts, four are going into the military, and a handful are going to work part-time and go to school part-time. A few more are waiting to hear from the companies about offers.

“Not everybody is going to go sign that letter of intent in athletics, but this is something that they can be proud of,” said John Linker, work experience coordinator for Kelloggsville. “For the longest time, we pushed ‘four-year college degree, four-year college degree’ and for some kids, yeah — that’s the way to go. But for others, it may not be.”

Leonel Leon finishes signing his contract for full-time employment at Mark-Maker

Students are Valued Employees

Lumberman’s, a wholesale building materials distributor, signed three of the six Kelloggsville students it took on this year in the school-to-work program. Laura Longstreet, human resource generalist at Lumbermen’s, told the crowd assembled for signing day about the hard work and dedication of the students and praised them for their hard work, professionalism, and punctuality. Other companies in attendance included Lack’s Enterprises, Inc. and Advanced Interiors.

“The goal has always been, at the end of the year, to at least have an offer of a full-time position, whether they accept it or not,” said Linker, who planned the “first annual” signing day. “So far, for year one, it went very well. The biggest thing I hear from kids, parents, businesses is just the immense value of getting exposure to work.”

Leonel Leon, who also accepted a full-time job offer from Mark-Maker, said the experience has been eye-opening and rewarding.

“I’ve learned that a lot of people at my job depend on me to be there,” said Leonel.

Ericberto Padilla and Leonel Leon sign contract with Mark-Maker

- Sponsorship -
Bridie Bereza
Bridie Bereza
Bridie Bereza hails from Lansing and has worked in the Grand Rapids area as a reporter, freelance writer, and communicator since graduating from Aquinas College in 2003. She feels privileged to cover West Michigan's public schools and hopes to shed a little light on the amazing things happening there through her reporting.

LATEST ARTICLES

Young constitutional scholars view current events, politics through historical lens

East Grand Rapids and East Kentwood high school We the People team members have qualified for the national competition, becoming well versed in civics and critical thinking along the way...

Rain gutter regatta showcases buoyancy, engineering skills

An annual boat race has become a highlight of sixth-grade science class. At stake: bragging rights and 'a goofy trophy'...

The Hood family: a school & community leadership dynasty

Five generations have lived within a five- to six-mile radius dating back to a government work program in the 1930s...

The sky’s the limit (or is it?) for this accomplished model builder

Creative, innovative, imaginative … Many of today’s students are all that and more in a vast variety of interest areas. This series features students with exceptional and unusual gifts...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Pieces of past Rocket pride remain part of the present

The history of the district is preserved in a six-panel history wall at the high school...

Have cart, will travel

A Southeast Kelloggsville Elementary music teacher has a new cart for her ukuleles, thanks to her school, her husband and the Kent Career Tech Center...

Schools in nine districts announce closures as COVID cases spike

New temporary school building closures were announced by nine school districts in Kent ISD this week, as schools contend with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Kent County and Michigan...
- Sponsorship -

HOW'S SCHOOL TODAY?

Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...

RADEMACHER & FRIENDS

Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -

MEDIA PARTNERS

Maranda Where You LiveWGVU

SUSTAINING SPONSORS