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News & Press: FOCUS

Students Gain Real World Experience Through Career Preparation Center Programs offered by Eaton RESA

Monday, December 4, 2017  
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By Maryellen Brocklehurst and Marcee Theisen

The Eaton Regional Education Service Agency (RESA) Career Preparation Center offers career and technical education programs to students in grades 11-12. Every day, over 600 students from five Eaton County high schools (Charlotte, Eaton Rapids, Grand Ledge, Maple Valley and Potterville) along with many other districts attend career preparation programs in 17 different areas: Animal Science/Zoo Management, Auto Technology, Business Academy, Computer Security, Criminal Justice, Digital Media & Design, Fashion Design, Game Design & Programming, Health Technology, Heavy Equipment Operation, Heavy Equipment Diesel Repair, Insurance/Risk Management, Law Enforcement, Medical Assisting, Precision Machining & Design, Sports Medicine, and Welding. The Career Preparation Center is located on the campus of Lansing Community College. In addition, several other partnerships and program locations are also available at Farm Bureau Insurance, Potter Park Zoo, AIS Construction and Davenport University. The unique business partnerships that Eaton RESA has developed over the years have provided incredible educational experiences for high school students. We would like to highlight two employers: AIS Construction and Farm Bureau Insurance.

Heavy Equipment Repair and Heavy Equipment Operation

Students that attend the Heavy Equipment Repair and Heavy Equipment Operation programs are on-site at the multi-million-dollar facility and are exposed to state-of-the-art technology applied learning and problem solving within the field. Each program offers students the opportunity to learn skills to operate, repair and service heavy equipment machinery. Tasks and skills learned within the Heavy Equipment Repair program include diesel engine diagnosis and repair, basic electricity and electronics, fundamentals of hydraulics, powertrains, disassembling and reassembling transmissions and axles and applying all the course content to the latest technology.

Students in the Heavy Equipment Operation program learn to operate many pieces of heavy equipment including excavators, bulldozers, front-end loaders, backhoes, forklifts and semis as well as an introduction to earthmovers. In addition to operating equipment, students have the opportunity to receive nine industry certifications in areas including Heavy Equipment Safety, Basic Safety, Orientation to the Trade, Identification of Heavy Equipment, Basic Operational Techniques, Trucks, Grades: Part One, Earthmoving and Below Grade Construction. Upon completion of either program, students are highly employable and frequently receive multiple job offers.

Insurance and Risk Management

In 2011, Eaton RESA, Olivet College and Farm Bureau Insurance began a new partnership designed to introduce local area high school students to careers within the insurance industry. Farm Bureau Insurance was excited to host this unique, first of its kind Insurance and Risk Management program.

The Insurance and Risk Management program offers students the opportunity to shadow current industry professionals, work as a summer intern and see the world of insurance from an application perspective. The program allows the students to earn direct credit from Olivet College while attending high school. After successful completion of the program, students may go on to attend Olivet College or other colleges and are qualified for entry-level careers within the insurance industry. Additionally, the students have an opportunity to be a part of DECA, a competitive business club for students, and compete against other high school students. Many former students from the program work for Farm Bureau or are employed elsewhere in the insurance industry.

For additional information about these programs or to get involved, please visit or call 517-483-9966.

MaryEllen Brocklehurst and Marcee Theisen are Student Services Coordinators at Eaton RESA.

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