Alan Shoemaker talks with students exploring mining careers

Alan Shoemaker runs the Tuscola Stone mining company in Tuscola and believes more students should explore career opportunities in this industry. After working with the IAAP and other members to develop the Let’s Rock campaign he accepted an invitation from Tuscola High School to do a virtual presentation for the school’s new Intro to Trades class. Alan was well equipped to do this because the Zoom presentation format allowed him to utilize the IAAP’s new Let’s Rock website and the exciting videos introducing students to five different career paths in this industry.

Twenty freshman and sophomore students, along with their teacher Jean Holmes, have been exploring various trades and skills students may pursue as career choices requiring only some college or training without incurring a lot of college debt. Alan had a plan to take the students down each career path on the website beginning with Operations as an introduction to what his company does, followed by Safety, Engineering & Science to emphasize the industry’s commitment to safety as well as the application of engineering and science in mining. This leads right into Quality Control where he emphasized how rocks are used for everything around us and highlighted some local projects the students would be aware of. At the end of each video, he talked about these jobs at his quarry and answered questions.

Sales & Marketing as well as Office Professionals career paths allowed students to understand how the mining industry has jobs and careers that are similar to other industries and could be a good match for their talents and interests. A student named Christopher told his teacher, “I saw you can really be and do whatever your education is good for in the rock quarry.”

Ms. Holmes students have already learned about other trade careers including painters, ironworkers, bricklayers, electricians, plumbers & pipefitters, heating & air-conditioning, carpenters, highway building, and now the aggregates industry. She leads the students to research each industry sector before hearing from a speaker working in that industry. They are learning how to properly use tools of the trade and now have experience building things.

Following Alan’s presentation, Brendan told his class, “I gained a lot from those videos. I thought quarries were just mining and blowing stuff up, but those videos showed me so much more. It may be a possible career choice of mine.”

The IAAP can support your company when invited to speak with students about what you do everyday and how they can start a satisfying career working for your company or elsewhere in the mining industry. Check out the Let’s Rock website and contact Shawn McKinney 217.241.1639 or mailto:shawn@iaap-aggregates.org at the IAAP to learn more about how IAAP can help.

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