KRESA Moving Forward With Career Training Overhaul

May 6, 2020

Students at a high school in Antioch, California, study biotechnology.
Credit Ben Margot / AP Photo

The Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency is still expanding technical training for students. But first the district needs to understand the changing labor market, says Superintendent Dave Campbell.

Voters approved a millage last November to overhaul KRESA’s vocational programs. Now the agency is studying how the pandemic is reshaping the economy, Campbell told WMUK.

“What are the short-term, I’m talking two, three, five years out, what are the jobs looking like for young people coming out of high school? And then the longer term, the five, 10, 20-year job projections,” he said.

“We want to make sure we offer the right programming,” he added. “And that’s tricky now. We’re just starting a pandemic recession. The economy is in all likelihood going to go through some fundamental shifts and changes here.”

Campbell said KRESA is pressing forward with an effort to teach middle schoolers about career and technical education. The agency is hiring instructors who will teach children, remotely or in person, about opportunities in things like the skilled trades.

“A lot of times kids, particularly if they’re raised in poverty whether it’s urban poverty or rural poverty, they really can’t see what opportunities lay in front of them,” Campbell said.

Voters approved a renewal millage for KRESA on Tuesday.