SEMCA Hosts Over 100 K-12 Students for Winter Field Trips

The Southeast Michigan Construction Academy sets aim on construction as a career exposure for K-12 through hands-on field trips.

In an effort to connect high school students to skilled trades careers, SEMCA staff have noticed an increase in schools reaching out to host a field trip at the academy. VP of education at SEMCA, Deanna Morley says this may be the new normal for the foreseeable future.
“I think we’re still seeing the trend that students are once again encouraged to explore a career in the trades and that college is not this ‘be-all, end-all’ path for success,” Morley said. “It’s encouraging for the staff to see, too, the spike in recently graduated seniors applying to the school.”
School field trips include a variety of stations designed to showcase the many fields of working in construction. The stations included learning about carpentry, electrical, welding, safety, an overview of SEMCA, and building information modeling using software provided by Procore.
Enthusiastic students and teachers from local schools had 20 minutes in each station to explore the tools used in specific trades, learn about some fundamental principles, and ask questions with people who work in the industry about successful career pathways.

“The passion from the students while they learn about these career options is palpable,” said Fraser High School teacher, William Justice. “This is an overwhelming moment as an educator to see students’ eyes light up when they discover the career path for them. There’s quite a few students at Fraser High School who have talked with me about going to work in construction, but don’t know what specific trade, so we’re grateful to be here today to help some of them figure that out.”
The biggest takeaway for Melanie, a senior at Lamphere High School is that a career in construction can lead to many more possibilities. Melanie said that she was encouraged hearing that she can go into electrical or carpentry and then open her own business down the road. Melanie also mentioned that if owning a business isn’t her dream after joining the workforce, she can pivot into safety and help protect the industry.
“At 18 years old, I know I want to work with my hands and the best thing about the trades is I can do just that and then make those important decisions about furthering my career when I have a better understanding of the workforce,” Melanie said. “It also helps that while I’m considering all of my options, I’m earning money working instead of just being in school studying something I may have zero interest in five years
from now.”
SEMCA staff predicts 300 students in nearby schools will visit the trade academy this year on a field trip. For anyone interested in arranging one, please contact the SEMCA director of education, Marissa Downs at