This article is part of a series that will highlight stories from students, teachers and employers about the path they followed to a successful career. Whether your story involves the career and technical education (CTE) pathway or the university route, we want to hear from you. Share your story with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can visit Facebook and Twitter to receive updates when new stories are posted.
By Mike Marsee
Michah Schenck had part-time jobs before. After spending a portion of his senior year with an automotive products manufacturing firm, however, he knew he had found something more.
Schenck, an aspiring electrician, joined Mubea Inc. in Florence as part of the Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky (TRACK) youth pre-apprenticeship program and found the place he hopes to call his professional home for years to come.
“This is more than just a job,” Schenck said. “It’s a career. It’s a future.”
Schenck attended Boone County Area Technology Center and Lloyd Memorial High School (Erlanger-Elsmere Independent). He accepted a full-time position after graduation with Mubea, a German company that manufactures products such as suspension springs, stabilizer bars, transmission springs and rolled blanks at facilities in Florence and Elsmere. He has entered the company’s apprenticeship program, which accepts only 10 to 12 new people per year.
“Thanks to the TRACK program I have experience, experience with Mubea, experience with skilled trades and with people,” he said.
TRACK, a partnership between the Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education and the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, provides high school students with career pathway opportunities that can lead to registered apprenticeship programs.
“It’s been a huge eye-opener for us,” said Brittany Cress, the apprenticeship and training coordinator at Mubea’s Florence facility. “It was a pilot for us this year, and Michah was a great student for us to have the first year.”
Cress said Schenck’s experience with Mubea during the 2017-2018 school year gave him what amounted to a preview of its apprenticeship program, and the dual-credit courses in welding and machine tool he took gave him a leg up as well.
“That put him hours ahead in our registered apprenticeship program,” Cress said.
Schenck said his first class in the electrical technology pathway at Boone County ATC “sparked” – his word choice – his interest in becoming an electrician.
“The teacher, Ron Gordon, had a big part in that, the way he dealt with our class and dealt with our projects,” he said.
He said his time at Mubea has opened his eyes and sharpened his focus.
“It showed me the opportunities that I can have,” Schenck said. “It’s made me want to strive.”
Schenck has served as something of a recruiter for the company as well.
“A lot of people are asking me questions,” he said. “Everybody’s been asking me, ‘What do you do at Mubea?’ and I tell them. And so many people are asking me, ‘Can you get me a job there?’ and I tell them, ‘It’s really not that easy.’”
Schenck is just beginning his journey through an apprenticeship program that will include both on-site training and classes through Gateway Community and Technical College, and he’s planning to put down roots at Mubea.
“I’m hoping I’ll be here for a long time,” he said. “Mubea is a great company. There’s so many opportunities, not only in America, but globally.”
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