Wilson Talent Center Celebrating 50th Anniversary with Start of the School Year
The Wilson Talent Center, operated by Ingham Intermediate School District is celebrating its 50th anniversary with the start of the 2022-23 school year. Opening in the fall of 1972 as the Capital Area Career Center, the program offers 19 career & technical education programs for high school juniors and seniors in twelve career pathways.
Originally viewed as vocational training for students that were immediately entering the job market upon graduation, the Capital Area Career Center became the Wilson Talent Center in 2017 to better reflect that today’s students were building upon their talents before entering college, an apprenticeship, or a career field. It is estimated that approximately 35,000 students have benefited from programs over the fifty years. Under the direction of 11 principals, numerous construction projects and additions, enrollment has continued to grow year after year.
Students who attend the Wilson Talent Center earn high school academic credit, state and national certifications and free college credit for successfully completing the programs. There are also several programs that offer students the opportunity to stay for a thirteenth year and earn up to an associate degree at no cost to the student through the Capital Region Technical Early College. Program offerings have varied over the fifty years, based on industry need. As an example, back in 2015, the Insurance Institute of Michigan asked us to partner with them to create an insurance program that could help fill the anticipated 10,000 jobs that would be available locally over the next ten years due to impending retirements.
“While I have only been the Wilson Talent Center Principal for a few years, the impact I have seen these programs make in the lives of our students is undeniable,” notes Joe Wenzel, WTC principal. “We look forward to continuing to work with business and industry partners to ensure we remain ahead of the curve in preparing a pipeline of students ready to fill the employment needs of our communities,” Wenzel also noted.
Jeff Grossman started working at the Capital Area Career Center in the spring of 1974 as the Assistant Welding Instructor. Later that year, he became the lead Welding Technology instructor and has held that position for 48 years. As the longest standing employee, Jeff has seen many changes over the years but says one thing remains the same.
“Students leave the comfort of their high school to attend the WTC for half of their school day. They come here because they have a passion for something. They find others that share that same passion, and it no longer becomes “school” to them. It is somewhere they want to be. As a teacher, you can’t ask for more than that,” Grossman noted.
The Wilson Talent Center, operated by Ingham Intermediate School District, offers career and technical education programs for high school juniors and seniors who reside in Dansville, East Lansing, Haslett, Holt, Leslie, Mason, Okemos, Stockbridge, Waverly, Webberville, and Williamston. Applications are also accepted from Lansing School District, Fowlerville Community Schools and Eaton and Clinton County schools. For more information, visit Wilson Talent Center (www.inghamisd.org/wtc).