(Note: In recognition of the vital role vocational education plays in our schools and communities, this is one in a series of stories of success achieved by local students who participated in the Career & Technical Education program through the Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District.)
The Clare-Gladwin Career & Technical Education program provides a great many benefits to students, schools and communities. Aside from the excellent hands-on job experience and exposure to career possibilities, there’s this: CTE’s presence is felt in businesses across Clare and Gladwin Counties, from restaurants to doctor’s offices to auto shops to lumber yards.
That’s where you’ll find Blake Roggow – working in the yard or behind the wheel for Flynn Lumber. Roggow, a 2015 graduate of Gladwin High School, got a career boost through his time in CTE’s Construction Trades class as a senior at GHS.
“My cousin kind of steered me toward CTE because he did it for two years,” Roggow said. “My expectations were to be and do the best that I could at what we were being taught – learning how to build a lot better and knowing more about how things go together when building a house was what I wanted to accomplish.”
Blake found that his CTE instructors, Josh Myers and Casey Quinlan, delivered exactly what he was looking for – including his first job in the field.
“Josh was telling me about how Flynn’s was looking to hire a young guy out of high school,” Roggow recalled. “So Josh put my name in with Mike Marker there, and I went and talked to him. My last semester of my senior year, I was a co-op student at Flynn’s and they hired me after two months.”
While CTE works for different students in different ways, Myers said Roggow was perfectly suited for the learning environment that delivers both pointed instruction as well as soft skills, problem solving and team-building.
“Blake was a student who took full advantage of the CTE program,” Myers said. “He used the Construction Trades program to jump-start his future. Not only did he excel in CTE, Blake also showed great improvement at his high school and was offered a co-op opportunity with Flynn Lumber during his senior year. This is now a part-time job while he attends college. Blake also uses his construction skills to do many side jobs and maintenance tasks.
“I believe Blake has a successful career ahead,” Myers added, “and his time in CTE has definitely influenced this trend.”
While he works his way through college, Roggow is grateful to be working in a great environment.
“My job is very important to me because it’s helping me pay my way through college,” he said. “But the most enjoyable thing about working at Flynn Lumber is the fact that it’s like one big happy family. Everyone is so close with each other and it’s always a joy going to work.”
Roggow earned two distinct honors while participating in CTE – the Michigan Builders 60 Hour Pre-License and the Turn Around Award, a recognition given to students in the Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District who have demonstrated dramatic improvement through their high school careers.
Roggow’s recommendation to current students considering CTE is a familiar refrain among its many success stories.
“Go for it,” he said. “You’ll never know if you like it until you try it. It really shows you what the real world will be like in the future with your career choice.”
As he works his way toward his career, Roggow is grateful for the help he received and eager to make good on the potential others see in him.
“Just being around construction helped me,” he said. “I’ve always thought about being a contractor salesman and maybe one day I can fulfill that opportunity. Because of the CTE program, I’m now on track to pursuing my career in the construction field, and I just want to thank Josh and Casey for everything they did as teachers when I had their class. It was a great experience, and if I could, I definitely would do it again.”