South West Washtenaw Consortium Programs Grow With the Support of Businesses Like Stevenson Enterprise
(This article was co-authored by Hailey Malinczak and Evan Aeschliman)
Mark Stevenson, previous President of the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce (SACC), wants to establish more connections with students in the South West Washtenaw Consortium (SWWC) and continue to build employment opportunities for students right out of high school. Stevenson, Vice-President of Stevenson Enterprise, has brainstormed multiple ways to involve students in his business with Dr. Ryan Rowe, the Executive Director of the SWWC. Stevenson Enterprise has already given back to the community and the students on multiple occasions. Most recently, Stevenson Enterprises sponsored the SWWC Student Organization Showcase at the Saline Community Fair. Over 10 programs in the SWWC were represented and it gave community members a chance to see the career and technical education opportunities students have through the SWWC.
Stevenson first connected with the South West Washtenaw Consortium during his term as president of the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce, prior to the COVID-related school closure. Stevenson brings a vast amount of experience and knowledge to the SACC and plans to create even more opportunities for students throughout the partnering SWWC school districts.
Recently, Stevenson and SWWC Executive Director Dr. Ryan Rowe chalked out new ways to expose more students and families to skilled trades opportunities.
“Dr. Rowe and I are in the process of planning an open house for the SWWC to occur this fall,” Stevenson said. “We are really looking to bridge the gap between students, parents, and employees within all of our cooperating school districts.”
All 18 of the programs will be represented by students and staff at the high school. Stevenson sponsored the SWWC Student Organization Showcase at the Saline Community Fair and he also plans to sponsor aspects of this upcoming event as well.
“Ultimately our goal is to connect with people that love trades,” explained Stevenson. "There are a ton of opportunities for students to find good jobs inside and outside of the standard college path.”
Additionally, Stevenson is planning to offer students training in various parts of his business and positively impact all those involved. The intent of showcasing opportunities is to make people aware of the many options and paths students can take through the SWWC.
In programs such as welding, building trades, agriscience, and many others, students will gain hands-on learning experience in class and also through the career training opportunities Stevenson Enterprises is able to provide. Stevenson emphasized his belief in students pursuing careers they can enjoy and be successful in.
“It is so important for students to realize that they can do something that they love and enjoy while still being successful,” Stevenson said. “I think many students feel pressured into going to college unsure of what they want to do, and I really just want to open students and families' eyes to all the possibilities they have inside and outside of that track.”
The SWWC certainly provides a multitude of opportunities for students to pursue learning in CTE classes and aligned career training. Stevenson Enterprises will contribute to the continued growth of SWWC career opportunities and hopes to enlighten students and parents regarding career paths in areas in need of essential workers.
“At the end of the day I really just want to show students that there are other opportunities out there that might lead to a more fulfilling, satisfying, and rewarding career,” said Stevenson.