Nicholas Graham had always had an aptitude for technical and hands-on tasks. He was interested in robotics, welding, and designing intricate electronic creations – but he struggled with the traditional academic setting at his previous university.

Nicholas dropped out of the engineering program and was working as a security guard when his parents heard about the Michigan Advanced Technician Training Program (MAT²) through his younger brother’s high school. They thought the program sounded like a perfect fit for him, and he applied and was accepted.

“This program is fantastic,” said Bob Graham, Nicholas’ father. “It is a win-win-win, if you will. First, it provides an avenue for kids with technical acumen to develop skill sets that otherwise they wouldn’t be able to. It combines the right amount of schooling with hands-on development. Their schooling is paid for and they get a stipend. Secondly, it is a win for the companies. There is an ever-growing shortage of this skill set in the industry. Technicians are becoming harder and harder to find, and this gives them the opportunity to invest in someone. Lastly, it is a win for the State of Michigan as it keeps these kids in the state with jobs contributing to the technical industry in Michigan.”

Nicholas has now graduated from the MAT² program and is continuing to work for the employer that sponsored his apprenticeship. He began his career with an associate degree, years of practical on-the-job experience, and no student loan debt. The financial independence he gained from the program has given him a head start in his adult life. Nicholas is planning on buying a new car, and he and his friends are considering moving from their current apartment to a house.

“The MAT2 Programs is  an outstanding example of a collaborative effort between the government, corporations, and schools to really benefit the students and all involved.”

Learn more about the benefits of the MAT² Apprenticeship Program.