Institute of Industrial Arts in Onaway

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There was a time when trying to find a plumber or electrician wasn’t too difficult.

Today, things have changed. More people have chosen not to pursue careers in the skilled trades.

Now these jobs are in high demand and there is a great place to learn how to do it all.

Corey Adkins takes us to the Industrial Arts Institute for Northern Michigan in Focus this week.

“The need is probably global, but we’re just talking nationally. We’re behind on infrastructure, bridges, buildings and things like that. The other thing we’re falling behind on is energy, the energy industry is behind and all that stuff is welding, ”says Mike Mehan, an instructor at the Industrial Arts Institute.

You hear it almost every day; Our country’s infrastructure is collapsing and the need for skilled labor is skyrocketing. Enter the Institute of Industrial Arts in Onaway.

“I heard this is the place to go. I had a few friends at school and they said, ‘Hey, this is a good program.’ You also learn a lot in a short time, ”says Layne Peshaba, a student at the Industrial Arts Institute.

This is one of the keys to success here. The program only lasts 15 weeks.

“It’s a fast track to creating people who can weld at a skill level so that they can help the industry. Minimal expense and high efficiency are what we aim for, making people employable, teaching people about work ethics as well as the different welding processes, ”explains Mike.

The route is short but not easy. It is based on the 40 hour work week.

“Forty hours a week, and one of the hardest things to teach people, especially young people, is work ethic. We start at 8am and don’t arrive late, we don’t tolerate it. The breaks when it comes to smoking and those things, we are pretty punctual during the breaks and we try to set up a working environment. That’s a big deal and prepare them for the job in bulk, ”says Mike.

Layne says, “I like to do things, build things, fix things; it has always fascinated me.

For 20-year-old Layne Peshaba of Petoskey, it’s a perfect way to establish a career.

“I’ve always been an industrial-minded person and welding, I thought, would be the way to go,” says Layne.

But for Joe Lindquist from Munising…

“I’m here for a slightly different reason than the younger ones. My family business is planning to build a commercial tour boat in Munising, so I’m here to learn the skills to help our business do it, ”says Joe.

They even teach company veterans. A group works in the quarry on Drummond Island.

“Business people have a problem with modernized equipment. The people who send it here, these people get new computers every two years, and the guys who do the work in the yard or on the ground have equipment from the 70s and 80s. The old equipment limits the type of process. you use, and welding technology increases dramatically in quality and they don’t keep up, ”says Mike.

No matter the skill level or the reason for pursuing a skilled trade, there are jobs.

“The other problem you have is that my generation, the older generation, is retiring. There is a big void and no one is dealing with it, ”says Mike. “It’s money and it’s not understood quickly enough in this country,” says Mike.

Layne tells us, “It’s a great feeling to know that you are doing something and that you are on the right path to success and I hope you get there.


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