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ACT for Freshmen Rolls Out

ACT (Allegan County Tours) is an initiative by the Allegan Area STEM partnership in response to a new Michigan state requirement for Career Development Education. These tours were planned out, though, to capture students at the exact time they need to start planning for their futures. As freshmen, they can start to pick their classes; it’s also a crucial time to capture their interests to keep them engaged in learning and focused on post-graduation plans.

Coordinators of ACT for Freshmen for have been working for months to match schools and local businesses to give students a glimpse into what careers are out there. They also hope students will see the incredible career possibilities that exist right here in Allegan County. The event included 45 businesses, mostly in Allegan County but there were also a couple in Ottawa, Kent and Kalamazoo Counties. The first tours kicked off on Thursday, October 3rd with freshmen from Otsego, Plainwell, Hopkins, Fennville, Allegan, Martin, . At 8am, every freshman in nine of the participating schools hopped on a bus to go on two tours, touching on at least one of the six career zones: 

  • Arts & Communication
  • Business, Management, Marketing and Technology
  • Engineering/Manufacturing and Industrial Technology
  • Health Sciences
  • Human Services
  • Natural Resources and Agriscience

Students from Wayland, Outlook Academy and Allegan Alternative will head out on their tours on the 7th or the 23rd of this month. 

Otsego Public Schools hosted two of the stops. At Dix Street Elementary, we introduced students to the possibilities of a career in teaching special education with a focus on kids with autism. We also hosted tour groups at the new Learn ‘n Grow Early Childhood Education Center where they were able to take part in the classrooms helping with projects, lunch, snack and activities along with going outside for recess and reading them books.

We were excited to have so many Otsego businesses participate as well: Peloton, Inc., Safari Circuits, Tengam, Inc., Vicinia Gardens, and Parker. 

Freshmen took part in activities before and during the tours to understand how to get the most out of each visit. They will also have a follow-up lesson and a survey to help plan for and improve the next round of tours. Organizers are also hoping for additional opportunities to take place on an individual basis for students who took an interest in a specific career.

If you are interested in hosting tours in the future or donating to this effort, contact Heather Kortlandt, OPS Director of Instruction, at

Learn more about the Allegan Area Stem Partnership online

Learn more about career development from AASP

We also want to thank several area businesses who, with Discover Manufacturing, donated almost $8,000 to pay transportation costs. Donors include Transmatic, Gun Lake Casino, Brenner Excavating, SP Industries, Inc., Allegan Credit Union, Parker-Hannifin, Koops Inc., Apprenticeship Management Services and Lakeshore Advantage (Michigan Economic Development Corporation.)

Tour locations: 

  • Alamo Nursing Home
  • Allegan Community Credit Union
  • Allegan County Courts
  • Allegan County Farm Service Agency
  • Allegan District Library
  • Allegan County Health Department
  • B&G Custom Works
  • Brenner Excavating
  • Bronson Hospital
  • Burgess Concrete
  • Carpenter/Millwright – Wayland
  • Community Action of Allegan County
  • Dix Street Elementary
  • Early Childhood Center (Otsego Public Schools)
  • Ely Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation
  • Genzink Steel
  • Grace of Douglas
  • Gun Lake Casino
  • Herman Miller
  • Honor Credit Union – Allegan
  • Kellogg Biological Station
  • Kent County Waste to Energy Facility
  • Kent County Recycling Center
  • Koops Inc
  • MEC
  • Outdoor Discovery Center
  • Padnos
  • Parker-Hannifin
  • Peloton Inc.
  • Perrigo
  • Preferred Plastics
  • Ropes Courses
  • Safari Circuits
  • Schaendorf Dairy and Custom Farming
  • Sebright Products
  • SP Industries
  • Stampede Die & Engineering
  • Tengam
  • Thermotron Industries
  • TMD Machining
  • Tokusen HyTech
  • Transmatic Mfg.
  • Uni-Pac
  • Vicinia Gardens
  • WestRock
  • X-Rite