08.08.18

Charlevoix Courier: Sen. Gary Peters tours Michigan Scientific in Charlevoix

CHARLEVOIX — U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, was in Charlevoix on Wednesday as part of his third annual #RIDEMI motorcycle tour.

Peters travels on his motorcycle each summer to visit communities around Michigan. He plans to stop at farms and manufacturing facilities during the week.

Charlevoix was his third stop and seventh county he visited.

While in Charlevoix, Peters toured Michigan Scientific Corporation and had discussions on investments in STEM and workforce development.

The senator saw firsthand some of the state-of-the-art manufacturing taking place at Michigan Scientific while highlighting the federal efforts to support basic scientific research, innovation and self-driving cars.

“It is just great for me to be hear at Michigan Scientific because it represents cutting edge technology and testing equipment,” Peters said. “Something that is happening here in Charlevoix that is not happening in other places in the country and it really represents some of the best and brightest in manufacturing right here.”

His stop at Michigan Scientific is part of the reason for his motorcycle tour because businesses like Michigan Scientific are doing something different and keeping manufacturing in Michigan, he said.

“As I travel around Michigan I make it a point to visit various businesses whether it is in manufacturing or agricultural business to hear first hand some of the opportunities and challenges these companies face,” Peters said. “I believe we actually can’t be a great country unless we make something and make it well and that is something that is happening here at Michigan Scientific.”

On July 31, President Donald Trump signed into law bipartisan legislation that includes provisions authored by Peters to close the workforce skills gap by strengthening career and technical education (CTE) counseling training. Peters’ provisions will help expand school counselor training and awareness of CTE so they can help inform students of post-high school education opportunities outside of the traditional four-year college degree.

“It is important for us to make sure students know these are really great jobs, they pay really good wages and you can build a long–term career,” Peters said.

The legislation will work with high school counselors to make them aware and to offer all skilled trade opportunities to young people in school.

“Often times you just have to be exposed to it and in the past people were exposed to a track to college and that is great, but there are so many other opportunities particularly in skilled trades that are available,” Peters said.

Peters said he authored the portion of the bill because there is a need for workforce development in Northern Michigan and around the state.

“There is no question that the one thing I hear as I travel around the state is the manufactures and companies can’t find the people with skilled training,” Peters said. “You don’t need to have a two-year or four-year degree, you need specialized training. Whether it is operating some of the sophisticated machines here at Michigan Scientific or other kinds of production facilities.”

Having trained technicians to fill open positions is something Michigan Scientific President Hugh Larsen said is hard to find.

“Getting technicians is difficult,” Larson said. “Getting engineers we do very well at. We can get them on an intern basis and we have maybe 10 of them this summer at our two locations that will work for us a year or two and at the end we know what they are and they know what we are and some of them join us. But technicians, the people that do the middle work are hard to find.”

Peters hosted a question and answer session with Michigan Scientific employees before his tour where he was asked what he is doing on a federal level to ensure the protection of Michigan’s Great Lakes and other natural areas.

“There is no question that protecting the Great lakes is my number one priority,” Peters said. “We have to make sure they remain clean and vibrant for, not only for today, but for future generations and we have a number of threats we have to deal with from Asian carp to oil spills.”

Oil spills is one area Peters focuses on as a member of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee. The federal agency that makes sure pipelines are safe. Peters has worked with the agency to make sure Line 5 safe in the Straits of Mackinac operates properly and safely along with many others, he said.

“It is not just the Straits of Mackinac. We have pipelines that are all over Michigan and all over the Midwest that are in the Great Lakes tributary,” Peters said. “I was successful getting legislation passed that makes the entire Great Lakes Basin a high consequence area. That means all of those pipelines are subjected to the most strict federal oversight to keep them safe and to make sure we don’t hopefully ever have a disaster like what we saw in Kalamazoo, which led to more than a billion dollars of cleanup and has had a long-term impact on that ecosystem.”


By:  Lonnie Allen
Source: Charlevoix Courier