Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District
January 2021

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Looking for the Next Class of MTA Students!
Prospective Students are Invited to Virtual Information Sessions
Now is the time for high school sophomores or juniors to learn more about becoming an MTA student. If you know someone who would be a good fit for MTA, please let them know we are hosting virtual information sessions in January, February and March.

For details about the virtual information sessions, MTA application process, and benefits, visit the Career-Tech Center MTA webpage. The challenging MTA educational experience, housed in the newly-built classrooms and labs at the Career-Tech Center campus on Parsons Road in Traverse City, is a rewarding and rigorous academic program.

Contact MTA Instructor Tim Wheatley at with questions about the information sessions.
MTA Virtual Information Sessions
Please join us. No pre-registration needed. Just click the Google links!

All sessions at 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Applying to MTA is Simple. Here's How...
Manufacturing Technology Academy is accepting applications for the 2021-2022 school year! Rising high school juniors and seniors may apply. Accepted students attend MTA during their junior and senior years of high school, Monday through Friday, 7:30-11:30 a.m. If you know someone who would be a good fit for MTA, please let them know we are hosting the virtual information sessions in January - March listed above.
  • First, attend a virtual information session (see above)
  • Go to the MTA webpage
  • Select the blue drop-down bar entitled "MTA Application"
  • Review application process and complete the steps outlined

The MTA application process includes the following sections:
  1. Contact information
  2. Academic background
  3. Extracurricular activities
  4. Letters of recommendation
  5. Commitment statement
  6. Interview
  7. Incoming seniors must meet MTA criteria for senior year admission

Contact Hollianne McHugh at for application information.

Student Projects in Process
MTA students are staying nimble this school year learning remotely and in-person -- and making the best of every opportunity!

Junior Projects
Juniors are beginning to learn print reading and modeling, including SolidWorks and 3D printing. This work will lay the foundation for their senior year projects.

Senior Projects
Meanwhile, senior robot projects are underway with two work cells in development. One is designed to wax skis, and the other to make bath bombs. There will also be four combat robots under construction this year. Although robotics event attendance is unknown at this time, the students will certainly benefit from brainstorming and troubleshooting varied solutions to similar problems in the classroom, along with internal robotics competitions.
Golf Outing Builds Scholarships
The 24th annual Grand Traverse Area Manufacturing Council (GTAMC) golf outing took place on September 25, with proceeds benefitting the Manufacturing Technology Academy's robotics program. Given the many limitations caused by the pandemic, the fundraiser was still very successful, bringing in $8,800! The students and staff of MTA are very grateful for the support of this event and the generous folks who take part in it.

The Grand Traverse Area Manufacturing Council was established to promote long-term thinking, education, and collaboration through people and companies that allow making great things in northern Michigan. It’s mission is to support a sustainable and globally competitive manufacturing sector for a stronger economy. Visit
MTA Alum Spotlight - See Where they Land!
Andrew Bratton, 2017
Andrew graduated from Kalkaska High School and MTA in 2017, and spent the year after at NMC finishing his Associate’s Degree in Science and Arts. He then moved on to Michigan Technological University in fall 2018 where he has pursued a major in electrical engineering and will graduate in spring 2021 with a Bachelor’s degree.
While still at MTA, Andrew landed an internship with Plascon Group for two summers; and after his year at NMC, he interned with Michigan Scientific Corporation in Charlevoix. Once at Michigan Tech, he got his foot in the door for an internship with Consumers Energy's Traverse City office working in the low-voltage distribution planning group with electrical engineers. The following summer, he experienced the non-power side of electrical engineering in his work with Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in the product development group in vehicle connectivity and over-the-air updates for vehicles. At that point, Andrew discovered he had a passion for vehicle connectivity and electric vehicles. He was excited to interview and accept a full-time offer from General Motors following graduation from Michigan Tech and will be working as an engineer in the Technical Rotation and Career Knowledge (TRACK) program, where he will experience several different engineering positions before “settling in” to a long-term role at the company.

Andrew Says,
“MTA pushed me to gain real-world experience early-on which has helped me find other awesome opportunities and led me to the professional path I am on today.”
Joel Zemanek, 2014
Joel graduated from Traverse City West Senior High and MTA in 2014. He attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and graduated in 2018 with a degree in global security and intelligence. He recently began work for Birch Infrastructure as a data center water analyst.

His responsibility at Birch Infrastructure is to be the point man for almost everything that has to do with water sustainability such as price, environmental , public relations, or legal issues. He uses ArcGIS Online to map out water infrastructure and other risk factors like flooding and drought.

In his education and career, Joel recalls two particular ways MTA made an impact on him. The first was organization. During final exams or a teams exercise, instructors had the students create to-do lists which really helped out once in college. He used the to-do lists as a format to create his own style of task lists to help stay on top of assignments. Now in his career, they help stay on top of his responsibilities.

Another important impact Joel recalls from MTA was work ethic. MTA pushed him to work hard and be focused. That "skill" is useful every day and in everything.

Joel Says,
"I learned how to work hard and be focused at MTA, and I learned to care about what I was learning because for the first time I saw the immediate relevance of what we were being taught." 
Alumni Advice to Current MTA Students
Ask for help! There are many people in your educational journey who want to help you, so don’t be afraid to ask.
MTA Interns a Win-Win for Businesses

Manufacturing Technology Academy welcomes businesses and organizations to get involved with MTA by hosting interns. MTA students are well-equipped to flourish and make real contributions to organizations. The search is underway now for businesses willing to offer summer internship opportunities. For information, contact Debby Oliver at
About Manufacturing Technology Academy
Manufacturing Technology Academy provides a learning environment which motivates and enables students to acquire world-class manufacturing and engineering skills while positioning them to compete and excel in the global market.
MTA is a tuition-free program offered by Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District’s Career-Tech Center for eleventh and twelfth grade students in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties. For information, call
(231) 922-7859.
Thankful Recognition
Special thanks to the industry partners who contribute resources and expertise in support of MTA’s mission. As a result, our students thrive in a rich learning environment with hands-on, collaborative experiences.
MTA Contacts
MTA Main Phone
(231) 922-7859

MTA Guidance Board President
Josh Hart, Kennametal Inc.

Career-Tech Center Principal
Pat Lamb
Sponsors Welcome
MTA is always seeking sponsors and grant opportunities. If you are an individual or company interested in collaborating, please contact Debby Oliver at (231) 922-7845 or