(left to right): Flip Johnson, Ron Sampsel, Stacy Winter, Jill Knaack, Kristen Smith, Andrew Gray and Ginger Kesler.

On April 17, 2019, the Branch Area Careers Center honored Advisory Committee members for their years of service.  Advisory Committees are established for each program at the BACC and provide critical advice and leadership in the respective industry for each program.   These committees serve as the sounding board for decisions made regarding equipment purchases, labor market trends, technology, facility appropriateness, in-servicing for teachers, and various specific industry requirements to make each program cutting edge.  The Advisory Committees are the backbone to the success of the BACC programs.

Each spring at the BACC overall Advisory Committee meeting, CTE Director Randy Sowles updates committee members.  Sowles introduced Jenn Searls, Early Middle College Consultant for Branch County Schools and KCC. Searls welcomed BACC and Coldwater High School graduate Jacob Knaack to address the group. Jacob explained his successful journey from high school to college made possible from the Early Middle College program. Jacob told the group that he saved thousands of dollars while nearly earning an Associate’s degree from KCC simultaneously attending Coldwater High School, Branch Area Careers Center, and participating in the BACC OJT program through Century Bank & Trust.  Jacob will be attending Western Michigan University this fall with enough college credits to be a college junior. He is pursuing a degree in Finance and Business.  BACC Career Development Consultant Susan Sobeske then addressed the group regarding career development strategies and programs for all students in Branch County. Sobeske highlighted the activities taking place at most grade levels in Branch County. She explained that the partnership with the local schools, BACC, Chamber, and many businesses and industries are key to the success of career development in students. Randy Sowles then highlighted the two new programs being offered at the BACC in the Fall of 2019: Construction Trades and Emergency Medical Technology (EMT) Training. BACC is currently searching for an instructor for the Construction Trades program. The EMT program will be in partnership with Kellogg Community College. High school students will actually report to the KCC Grahl Center campus each day for class. KCC instructors will partner with existing BACC Health Science staff to offer this new program. This will offer another option for Health Science students and students from our local high schools in Branch County.   Rachel Hard, BACC Placement Coordinator then addressed the group regarding the Branch County Hiring Blitz. BACC is partnering with KCC, Michigan Works!, and the Coldwater Chamber to offer a Job Fair on Wednesday, May 8 from 9:30 am until 3:00 pm at the KCC Grahl Center. Employers who are seeking to recruit new workers are encouraged to visit the Coldwater Chamber website to register for this free event. Employment seekers, which will include BACC students, are encouraged to attend during the May 8 event to discuss potential employment opportunities.

Randy Sowles and BACC Principal, Raymond Wheaton then honored members who have served on various BACC Advisory committees.  Receiving 5-year awards were:  Andrew Gray, Laura Owens, Robin Hunter, Candace Cox, Connie Rigot, Kristen Smith, Joey Duke, and Jill Knaack.  Receiving 10-year awards were Ginger Kesler and Stacy Winter.  Receiving 15-year awards were Dave Haylett and Amy Jensen.  Receiving the award for 20 years of service was Ron Sampsel and Flip Johnson


Pictured (left to right): Flip Johnson, Ron Sampsel, Stacy Winter, Jill Knaack, Kristen Smith, Andrew Gray, and Ginger Kesler.