Charlotte Public Schools is opening a new Agricultural Learning Center with classrooms offering hands-on instruction in the agricultural and horticultural industries.
Michigan’s food and agriculture sector accounts for 17% of state employment according to data from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Since the early 1970s, Charlotte Public Schools have introduced students to the estate.
Nick Thompson, a teacher in the district’s agricultural apprenticeship programs, says the new center will give students the opportunity to learn and interact with goats, sheep and pigs.
“Our overarching goal is to try to expose high school students to these career opportunities, so they can, you know, think of it as an option when they graduate from high school as a career. “, did he declare.
According to Thompson, the old facility was in very poor condition. The new facility is made possible through a $36 million bond approved by voters in November 2020.
“So this building is not a new idea, but it will certainly be state of the art and it will be something that generations to come can use,” he added. “And help the community try to attract young people into the agriculture industry.”
The center will also expose students to career opportunities in veterinary medicine, agricultural mechanics and horticulture.
“They’ll learn how to clean and groom and feed animals, or things of that nature. They’ll also learn basic small engine maintenance and repair and some welding,” Thompson said. “So this class is a bit more oriented towards the business side of farming. The other classes are more oriented towards the production, animal production side.”
Thompson says the facility will help more students graduate from Michigan’s Future Farmers of America Association. It is the highest distinction that the association can bestow on a member.