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Michigan Students Get Up-Close Look at Manufacturing Jobs

The annual career-focused event, a partnership between the Macomb County Planning and Economic Development Department and the Macomb Intermediate School District, gives students a real-world look at high-tech careers.

(TNS) — Tuesday was Manufacturing Day in Macomb County and this year nearly 2,500 students from local high schools were invited to tour 50 host sites.

The annual campaign, coordinated by Macomb County Planning and Economic Development and the Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD), provides opportunities for students to tour area advanced manufacturing facilities and meet people who make things.

Business owners like Giovanni "Nino" Vitale.

"I'm very excited and anxious to show them what we do here," said the CEO and founder of TEMO, Inc., who rolled out the red carpet the group of Dakota High School students taking Tuesday's tour of his showroom and manufacturing plant. "I want them to see the success we've had and to know that you don't have to be a brain surgeon. You can have a job that pays well and gives you a good life."

"That's the American dream," added Vitale, who was 22-years-old when he immigrated to the United States from Italy.

He spoke very little English but understood people and after seeing the communal desire homeowners had for a gathering place that would allow them to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors without having to deal with the weather or insects started a company that would give them that joy. Operating under the belief that there is no such thing as a problem, only an opportunity, Vitale designed and developed an aluminum porch enclosure for manufactured homes. When these enclosures began to rise in popularity, along with the success of the skirting business, Vitale started TEMO, which stands for Trust, Enthusiasm, Motivation and Opportunity — four ideals he attributes to his success as a manufacturer.

"I'm 77. I've been doing this for 54 years and I still love the work I do," said Vitale, whose passionate presentation about how he started his business had at least two students considering a similar path.

"I always thought about becoming an entrepreneur," said tenth-grader Alex Kane.

Also impressed by Vitale's presentation was Darko Deskovski.

"I really liked what he said, that he moved here and built his company," he said. "I moved here from Macedonia."

Kane and Deskovski, like many other students on the tour, were also interested in design work and 3D printing and were surprised to learn that both are facets of the work that's done in creating sunrooms and pergolas. As one employee, who is also attending Macomb Community College, told the group, working at TEMO's is giving him the experience he needs to get into architectural design.

"It's a great way to get your foot in the door to other industries," said Zachary Rugenstein.

How that is applied to the product was shown to students during the second part of their visit and the tour of the manufacturing plant.

"The more a kid can see, touch and feel the working world the better," said Macomb Intermediate School District Superintendent Mike DeVault, who joined several other community leaders in attending TEMO's tour including Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon.

"This is also good for the manufacturers," said Cannon. "He can't find enough employees."

By participating in Manufacturing Day, Vitale is reaching young people who are just starting to think about what they might want to do after high school.

Since 2014, more than 15,000 students have participated in Macomb County's Manufacturing Day, which is a national campaign designed to create awareness about the economic importance of the industry and the interesting and well-paying jobs it provides. Of those students, many have gone on to work for the same companies they toured while in high school.

"Now many of our students are leading these tours," said Shannon Williams, career technical education (CTE) consultant for the MISD.

©2022 The Macomb Daily, Mount Clemens, Mich. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.