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Investing in Future Craft Professionals Remains Top Priority for the Kent Companies Team

Students in Local Building Trades Program Build Concrete Experience by Working with Kent Companies Professionals

[GRAND RAPIDS, MI] – When students from the Building Trades Program at Allegan County Technical and Education Center (ACTEC) gathered to pour and finish a concrete basement floor, they built something far greater than they expected. The project gave them the opportunity to connect classroom concepts with real job site experience in the construction industry.

IMG_8835In late 2016, approximately twenty ACTEC students worked alongside a Kent Companies team including Superintendent Troy Clinger, Jared Veale, Chris Sease and Dan Bremmer.  According to Kent Companies Vice President Chris Fennema, the work experience made a difference for the students and the seasoned pros alike. Fennema shared, “Our teams are energized by the opportunity to work with students. It gives them an opportunity to put their craft skills to use to build the next generation of talent. It’s a payoff that goes far beyond the job site itself.”

Partnerships between the private industry and trade schools are more important than ever. The Construction Workforce Development Alliance of West Michigan reports that Michigan will create nearly 6,000 new construction job openings each year through 2020.

Fennema added, “Kent Companies is an active participant in many regional workforce development initiatives, and this type of building project shows our commitment to personal instruction and engagement with students. We believe in inspiring the next generation of craft professionals to pursue careers in construction. We create tangible opportunities to help them get there faster.”

Allegan Kent Web 1Job site experiences teach students the skills that cannot be captured in classroom textbooks.  Ryan, an Allegan Tech Center student, shared his excitement at learning how to finish concrete through this hands-on experience. He told Kent Companies that this project taught him how easily issues arise in construction and how it is essential to think and act proactively on every project.

Building Trades instructor Andrew Findling shared his gratitude with the Kent Companies team, “Your generosity and your willingness to work with my students is a great benefit to them. They saw exactly how people in the concrete industry perform their jobs because they had the opportunity to work hand-in-hand on a shared project.”

Linda Blankenship, Director of Allegan County Tech Center, added that she is continually grateful to have local businesses willing to come out and help the students gain new skills and knowledge.

“It was exciting to help the students learn something new,” shared Kent Companies pump operator Dan Bremmer. “I want them to know that there will always be a need for skilled trade professionals, especially those who are willing to work.”


About Kent Companies:

Kent Companies is a 3rd-generation family-owned business with expertise in commercial and industrial construction, mixed-use construction, multi-family housing, tilt-up concrete, post-tensioned cast in place structures and a full range of concrete-related specialties. Kent Companies is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan and has operations in Detroit, Michigan; Dallas, Texas; central Ohio and Charlotte, North Carolina. The Kent Companies team has built a reputation as “Leaders in Concrete.”  Read more online at Additional media inquiries can be directed to Leah Gradl by emailing or by calling (616) 534-4909.

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Photos courtesy of Tom Scheidel, Public Information Coordinator, Allegan Area Educational Service Agency