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Students, professionals swish for career awareness

Grand Rapids — Bean bags flew and plunked as future architects, engineers, construction managers and interior designers facilitated a cornhole tournament with professionals from those careers.

The fundraiser supported tools, materials and post-secondary scholarships for Academy of Design and Construction students at Innovation Central High School who are working toward their dream careers.

“During my first year in this academy, I got to meet professional interior designers. It’s overall been really helpful in helping me understand what I want to do,” said sophomore Brianna Bultman, who plans to pursue interior design and art after she graduates.

Students welcomed 66 teams of West Michigan professionals. Using their hands-on skills, they painted and assembled the boards, sewed bean bags and designed trophies. They also kept score and served food.

Jen Schottke, president of the West Michigan Construction Institute, helped organize the event. Schottke is treasurer on the Grand Rapids Public Schools Board of Education and serves on the academy’s advisory council. She said half of the workforce in skilled trades will retire in the next 10 years.

“The industry is looking for people,” she said. “It’s a massive change in the industry and why we care so much about this program and inspiring other people to care about this career pathway.”

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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