Planning for the Future

M-CAP program provides middle school students hands on career exploration


Armando Saucedo

A Clarenceville Middle School student learns how to properly put out a fire using a fire extinguisher under the supervision of a Schoolcraft Fire Academy student on Nov. 5, 2021 at the Public Safety Training Center.

Ben Bolstrum, Editor-in-Chief

Maneuvering through college life can be a difficult endeavor for any student no matter the situation, but being unprepared for what to expect and all the responsibilities that come with college only serves to worsen expectations.

This is why Schoolcraft has partnered with Clarenceville Middle School to create the Middle School Career Awareness Program (M-CAP Program.) The goal of such an initiative is to help expose and prepare middle school students in the eighth grade for Schoolcraft as well as the occupational programming offered. All this in the hopes that the students involved are able to find career paths that suit not only their skills, but their personalities as well to keep them interested in pursuing their goals. This program also serves to educate parents on how to best help their children pursue these goals.

The program kicked off Oct. 8 with a presentation from Schoolcraft College President Dr. Glenn Cerny and Chuck Dardas from Alpha USA at Clarenceville Middle School. Schoolcraft will be hosting these events on campus monthly until March 2022 so students can get an idea of what such a setting can entail. As a result, participants will be able to select and attend two program sessions of their choice that promise active learning that is dynamic and engaging.

From Nov. 2021 until March 2022, each of the following academic programming areas will be specially highlighted: Public Safety (Nov.), Health Care (Dec.), Manufacturing & Technology (Jan.), Business & Technology (Feb.) and Culinary Arts (March).

Upon completion of the program in April, a banquet will be held for all program participants, including parents and staff. This will serve as a celebration and a reflection for students to consider their experiences while at Schoolcraft.

“We want to connect students with careers that match with their interests, skills and personalities,” said Stacy Whiddon, Chief Academic Officer and leader of the M-CAP initiative for the Academics. “It will be a lot of fun and interesting! Students will have a chance to see different career aspects live in demonstrations by experts. They will be able to participate in different activities in a safe environment while learning about occupational programs, careers and opportunities at Schoolcraft College.”

As a result, approximately 85 out of 170 Clarenceville students will be attending the M-CAP program. With this in mind, establishing early relationships with these students while promoting Schoolcraft’s academic programs is an easily accessible way for potential future Schoolcraft community members to thrive.

These events have been meticulously planned and attendees can expect several hours of activities related to the college experience as a result.

“The role of the Academic Division in these events is to make sure that we have created an agenda of hands-on stations that expose students to some of the skills related to our Occupational Programs,” said Whiddon. “Additionally the stations allow for interaction between the middle school students and our faculty, staff and current students.”

There is something for everyone at these events according to Whiddon. Whether a student likes helping the community, solving mysteries, physical health, how the body works, troubleshooting broken things, robotics, electronics, computers, inventors, creators, leadership or cooking, the M-CAP program aims to help students find their dream career.

During the most recent programming held at the Public Safety Training Center Nov 5 students had a chance to talk with the faculty and students in the public safety programs. At one station called “Turnout Gear,” students got to actually feel what it was like to put on all the firefighter gear and to move around in it.

Students can expect these programs to last just over three hours, entailing a facility tour, various exercises detailing different programs and careers that are available, hands-on activities and a boxed lunch for attendees.

The 85 students along with their instructors will split into six different groups to follow a tour and visit six different areas that highlight the different programs and careers.

“Schoolcraft College is very pleased to work on this project with Chuck Dardas, president and CEO of AlphaUSA, a Livonia based company,” said Whiddon. “Mr. Dardas and AlphaUSA are very supportive of the Clarenceville School District and Schoolcraft College. Dardas is a proponent of education, occupational programs, and innovation; empowering skilled workers by providing a worthwhile career and a balanced life.”

With M-CAP in full effect, the students of Clarenceville will be able to receive a head start on their college experience thanks to Schoolcraft and AlphaUSA.