By Bill Petzold
Tuscola County Advertiser
CARO — U.S. Representative Candice Miller paid a visit to Caro on Thursday, taking a couple hours to tour the Tuscola Technology Center, 1401 Cleaver Road in Caro.
The visit was part of the congresswoman’s District Work Week, during which she met with residents from Michigan’s 10th district, which includes Huron, Lapeer, Macomb, St. Clair, Sanilac and Tuscola counties.
Miller (R-Harrison Township) was joined by TTC principal Shawn Petri and Intermediate School District superintendent Eugene Pierce, and the tour was led by student ambassadors Dustin Dennis of Vassar, Kelsey Setla of Caro and July Teal of Kingston. The tour group included members of the ISD’s Board of Education.
Miller visited several classrooms filled with students taking part in some of TTC’s 19 programs including Agriscience, Professions in Education/Early Childhood, Nursing Careers, Welding and Fabrication, Automotive Technology, Law Enforcement, Graphic Communications, Computer Technology Management and Culinary Arts.
The congresswoman had a chance to speak with TTC teachers and invited students to ask questions that they had for her. One of the students in the Law Enforcement class asked Miller if she liked her job. “I love it!” she said emphatically, but noted that some days are better than others. Another student asked “What kind of skills do you need to do your job?” Miller explained that she basically ended up in politics “by accident” after starting out working for her family’s sailboat business, then becoming a township trustee and eventually serving two terms as Michigan’s Secretary of State. She won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002.
“I am so honored to have been able to visit the Tuscola Technology Center and meet with both the teachers and students who make this facility what it is: a life-changing opportunity to learn and receive valuable job training that will successfully launch individuals into today’s job market,” Miller said following the tour. “I enjoyed meeting with the creative students who are receiving top training in fields such as nursing, law enforcement, welding, and the list goes on. This is truly a priceless facility and one that I know the City of Caro and the entire Tuscola County community takes great pride in supporting.”
TTC administrators were delighted to have the congresswoman visit, and Petri said that he thought the tour went great and was pleased to show how county schools have worked together to provide educational opportunities for students.
“I think she had a great opportunity to see what the students at the Tech Center are doing for career-based education, and she understands that career and technical education is important for the students’ futures for them to be able to experience first-hand the fields they can find a career in, or the make steps toward a career in those fields,” Petri said. “That’s what’s nice about career and technical education: the students have the opportunity to explore their future. If you ask each and every one of them, that’s their (goal).
“We’re excited that at the federal government level they’re starting to really see how important it is for the kids. To have (Miller) visit and see how she interacted with the kids — that was great to see. If we don’t open our doors for the community and the politicians to see what we do, then people don’t know the great things we do. When they see what the kids are doing and talk to them about their futures, that starts to put that whole puzzle together for understanding that when they do their budgets federally as well as statewide to see how important it is for the students. The decisions they make open up doors for these students.”
Petri said the Tuscola Technological Center will host an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. February 27, and the public is encouraged to attend. The TTC boasts about 700 students who attend both morning and afternoon sessions and a growing list of noteworthy alumni. The school also offers classes for adults. For information, contact the Tech Center at (989) 673-5300.