Ray DeBuck supports the Hantz Foundation and helps students in Detroit explore career opportunities in heavy machinery.
The Hantz Foundation gave the opportunity for the students at Southeastern High School in Detroit, Michigan to learn if they are interested in operating heavy machinery.
Not everyone wants to go to college, so we brought in a couple of machines so the kids could start thinking about an apprenticeship. There are a couple of great apprenticeship programs already set up in the marketplace, and we’re trying to get the kids interested enough to apply for apprenticeships so they have a new career path.
We are showing them that they can actually operate the equipment – something they’ve never thought about before. Once you learn how to run an excavator, loader, dozer, skidster it’s an opportunity to get a job anywhere. We put an emphasis on college and career readiness, but we focus on just college readiness. This is an opportunity for career readiness and giving them the new focus of – you can actually do this and get paid while you’re in school, and this is a very valuable trade that they can take with them across the country. We really like this choice as a jumping off point for some kids at Southeastern High school who want good work and good pay and want to avoid taking on a lot of debt after graduation. Other schools don’t have these opportunities to explore other avenues and to see them get excited about this is great. This is unique to our area, there are many schools in Detroit that have vocational training, but in our area they don’t get this opportunity to practice and see different trades. If kids go through the experience and like it, we wanted to get their contact information so we can get them signed up for the apprenticeship program and we had 100% sign up rate.