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"New Collar Jobs" - MSNBC Highlight's LCC’s Aviation Maintenance Technology Center

September 21, 2017

Lansing, Mich. – It used to be white collar or blue collar jobs. The choice was to go into management and leadership, or to work with your hands. Today the newly coined term is "New Collar Jobs," with substantial earnings possible for workers who have the needed training. MSNBC’s "Velshi & Ruhle" recently visited students and the facility at LCC’s Aviation Maintenance Technology Center in Mason, Mich., to learn how this program prepares students for the future.

Today, there are 6.2 million available jobs and 7 million unemployed adults nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. It would be easy to assume the unemployed should just snag those open jobs. The problem is many of those open jobs require specialized training which the job-seeker does not have, resulting in what’s called a skills gap. More technology is required. More electronics are needed to make things work. And workers need to be more technically minded. The "new collar" worker needs training, but that doesn’t mean they need a four-year degree, or even a two-year degree.

Delta Air Lines is partnering with LCC to provide training to fill the skills gap. LCC was recently selected as one of 43 community colleges partners to provide aviation maintenance training that meets Delta’s high standards.

"Delta is out here on a regular basis, evaluating our program, making improvements, checking safety compliance," said Mark Bathurst, LCC’s Director of the Aviation Maintenance Program. "Everything that Delta does, they expect us to do as well."

"I’m in the program, learning exactly what they want me to know," LCC aviation student Jacob McDuffy said. "It’s pretty astonishing."

In 24 months or less, aviation students at LCC become experts in aircraft maintenance and repair. Through hands-on, real-world training in basic aviation, airframe maintenance and powerplant maintenance, students become well-versed in working with large and small planes, turbine and jet engines, traditional aircraft construction, and advanced composite materials. Upon completion of training, students have earned three certificates: Airframe Maintenance, Powerplant Maintenance and Basic Aviation Technologies. If they add just five courses during or after training, students can also earn two associate degrees in the field.

Upon completion of the program, students are prepared to take the next step in their aircraft maintenance journey and earn their Federal Aviation Administration license. Graduates who take all FAA examinations successfully pass them. Here’s where the job connection happens. Employment of Aircraft Maintenance Technicians is growing and those technicians that hold Airframe and/or Powerplant certificates are in high-demand throughout the industry. The Job Referral Program at LCC helps graduates find the right job, right away.

"Our students have multiple job offerings before they even graduate," Bathurst said. Often these earnings start at $50,000 per year.

"My brother-in-law was in this program, and he has a wonderful job now," LCC aviation student Stephen Wilson said. "I’m excited. It’ll be a blast!"

LCC offers other "new collar job" trainings in addition to the Aviation Maintenance program. The Center for Manufacturing Excellence, located at LCC’s West Campus, has programs in robotics and automation, precision welding, and computer automated design. Students can also earn certificates and associate degrees in criminal justice and fire science.

Health programs at LCC are available in dental hygiene, radiology, sonography and kinesiology. A veteran can apply his or her military medical knowledge to a paramedic certification. A student can earn a nursing degree, an EMS certificate, or earn community health training. Students can also earn general associate degrees and transfer general core classes to four-year schools to pursue other careers.

At LCC, the future is in training students so they can find well-paying jobs. MSNBC’s "Velshi & Ruhle" learned the skills gap is being filled by students learning new skills at LCC.

Watch the Sept. 15 nationally broadcast story from MSNBC covering LCC’s Aviation Maintenance Technology Program.

About Lansing Community College

Lansing Community College, founded in 1957, is the third-largest community college in Michigan, serving a six-county area with nearly 15,000 students attending each year. LCC offers courses in general education for those interested in transferring to a four-year institution, career and workforce development, developmental education and personal enrichment. To meet the professional development and training needs of regional employees, the college offers customized programs for credit, non-credit and continuing education. The University Center at LCC offers students the opportunity to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees from five partner universities on the downtown LCC campus. For more information, visit lcc.edu.

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