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Lansing woman helps change perception of skilled trades

Posted at 4:43 PM, Jul 26, 2019

LANSING, Mich. — Like a tag on a dress in the store, Alica Clark, a radiology student, said a $50,000 price tag was less appealing than a $15,000 one.

"It's the same education for way less," Clark said.

After graduating high school, Clark said she had no idea what she wanted to do.

"I wouldn't say that I particularly like school but I do enjoy learning new things and the two-year thing was definitely a plus," Clark said.

She took her time, explored her strengths and found her passion in radiology.

"I was interested in the technology and I knew that I didn't want to do nursing or research tech so this was my next option. I'm in clinical now and basically, I'm on the job training," Clark said.

She's hopping into a field that's growing in demand, Michigan's new going-pro initiative is trying to meet that demand.

"We have over 545,000 jobs in the professional trade that we really need to fill," Stephanie Beckhorn, of Michigan Talent and Economic Development, said.

A part of filling those jobs is changing what Beckhorn calls the "often negative" perception of skilled trades.

"We're calling them the new collar jobs. Because these are high-tech advanced areas very sterile clean environments and so individuals get to work with new tech new innovative practices and procedures. these aren't dirty or dingy jobs they're just the opposite they are high
wage exciting quality jobs that are really rewarding," Beckhorn said.

And Lansing Community College is happy to be a connection for students to those jobs.

"It made perfect sense because community colleges are very much the link to employment right out of the gate. Students can come here and pursue a certificate or a degree that gets them right into the workplace," Lisa Webb Sharpe, Lansing Community College Executive Vice President, said.

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