St. Patrick Catholic School

122 West Street, Portland, MI   (517) 647-7551

Reflections by Randy Hodge

St. Patrick Students Find Success at Heartland

Posted on June 2, 2017 at 7:25 PM

There is much talk recently in financial and educational circles about the job and career opportunities in vocational technology fields which have come to traditionally be known as the “trades.” As opportunities in these fields continue to increase, we seek to help our students pursue the education needed to fulfill the demands of these careers. And at St. Patrick they can get started, while in high school, by attending the Heartlands Institute of Technology (H.I.T.), located on the Ionia High School campus.

Heartlands Institute of Technology is the career center serving the students of Ionia County. This program is at the forefront of preparing students to be career and college ready. It helps students build core academic skills by applying skills as they would in the workplace. They help students develop or improve their employability as well as job skills related to a specific career pathway. Students have the opportunity to work and learn a career that moves from a traditional classroom approach to one that offers a hands-on approach.

Heartlands Institute of Technology offers the following programs:

• Allied Health (Physical and Occupational Therapy professions, Athletic training)

• Aviation Technology

• Computer Network Administration

• Construction Technology

• Criminal Justice

• Culinary Arts

• Diesel Technology

• Machine Tool

• Plant/Animal Science

Since there are many jobs and career opportunities in these fields we have encouraged students to consider taking on a trade as a potential career. As a result, St. Patrick School has 13 students attending H.I.T. this year. Traditionally, only three or four students a year have pursued classes.

On May 16, H.I.T. hosted their annual awards banquet. The following St. Patrick students received awards:

Distinguished Student Award: Greg Doll

Program Award Winners: Blake Hodge (Construction)

David Kreiner (Computers)





Student of the Month: David Kreiner

Greg Doll

Sam Hodge

Blake Wohlschied


Senior Honor Cord Recognition: Gregory Doll

Noah Goodman

Blake Hodge

Sam Hodge

Graham Smith

Hunter Barber


4.0 Award: Bret Drake

Graham Smith


Recognition for participation in the MITES (Michigan Industrial and Technology Education Society) Competition: Blake Hodge

Sam Hodge


There are many benefits to students considering pursuing a career in a trade including:

• A strong future job prospect for a majority of these trades with pending shortages in some fields. This offers job security for careers that are nearly impossible to outsource.

• There are many well-paying jobs/careers in these fields.

• Most offer strong benefit packages that include insurance and retirement.

• There is a limited amount of schooling needed to get started, which in most cases means less cost for an education and an earlier start in the workforce.

• A majority of the education is hands-on and limited in traditional schooling.

We will continue to encourage our students to pray and discern their vocation and career choices as they continue their journeys throughout high school. We are very excited our students have the opportunity to receive the benefits that Heartlands Institute of Technology offers.


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