“Words simply cannot express how blessed I feel to be able to wake up every day to inspire and bring out the best in students I’ve been entrusted with!”

Demetrius Wilson credits an electrical education with changing his life. Growing up in a low-income community in Michigan, Wilson said, “No one in my community really talked about career pursuits. It was all about getting a job. But I wanted more. I wanted a career.” After graduating high school in 1988 and earning an associate degree in electronic engineering technology, Wilson began his teaching career.

An educator for three decades, Wilson has been a constant learner, picking up CAD, robotics, fluid power, mechanical drive systems and computer numerical control programming to continue supporting students despite teacher cutbacks in his department. In 2006, he earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and business administration from Baker College, and in 2013, he earned a master’s degree in teacher leadership from Oakland University, having earlier completed a two-year teacher leadership program there. He applies his skills mentoring and supporting teachers, including by coordinating his fellow career educators throughout Oakland County.

In the classroom, Wilson focuses on closing achievement gaps between students by using data to pinpoint which students are struggling and with which subject, adjusting his teaching until students succeed. Wilson’s students also benefit from a three-year program—the first of its kind in Oakland County—that lets them earn college credit in high school, attend college for a “13th year” of study, and graduate with an associate degree at no cost to them. They also pursue advanced learning through the Michigan Advanced Technician Training Program (MAT2). Within the last seven years, Wilson assisted more than 30 of his students to place into the MAT2 program, resulting in a $2.5 million-dollar investment in his students.

Wilson’s program won the 2019 Michigan Career and College Readiness Initiative Excellence in Practice Award, which recognizes outstanding practices, programs, or services that demonstrate exemplary support of career and college planning for students. He was a finalist for the 2019 Prize for Teaching Excellence.

“Growing up, no one in my community really talked about career pursuits. It was all about getting a job. But I wanted more. I wanted a career. So I decided to enroll in an electrical program—it changed my life. This is just my story, there are so many stories I can tell you that show the impact CTE programs are having on the lives of students.”