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Monday, August 28, 2017

Muskegon Community College Celebrates The First Day At The Applied Technology Center Downtown Muskegon

At times, the tour seemed unbelievable.  As I was given a walk through this morning of the new Muskegon Community College Applied Technology Center Downtown Muskegon I was doing all I could to pay attention to things like names of machines and applications of their use.  I did what I could to remember what this, that or the other gadget cost, and what it meant to have on hand, but as the information flooded in, the surreal feeling of being in such an incredible setting was just too much.

It all came home for me though as we were on the upper floor of the building looking out....looking out over Downtown Muskegon and I saw an actual city sky line.  We were on the corner of Third and Clay and as I looked out, I could see Western Avenue from one window, Hackley Park and Third Street from another and in all honesty...I could see nothing but promise for the future of Downtown Muskegon and the people who choose to become students at the Applied Technology Center.

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Enough of my first impressions, today was day one!  Students were on hand and the building is open to use!  There will be another wave of openings in January when the Winter semester gets underway, but for now...the welding lab is open, classrooms are open, the Center for Experiential Learning is open on the first floor with a beautiful view of the park right across the street.  Soon to come the Entrepreneurial Fab Lab, the Prototype Center....the bookstore....credit union....the list goes on and on.  This is where people who want the jobs that will pay more than $10 bucks an hour will start and take the first steps to a more secure future for themselves and their family.  This is where the base will be formed for people to find their way into careers that can take them anywhere and where things like some education can lead paid apprenticeships  which can lead to secure work and in time journeymen's cards in skilled trades.  If you have not heard.... there is a sincere shortage in skilled trades in the USA right now.  These are high paying jobs that don't necessarily require a 4 year degree.

The educational opportunities are beyond my wildest dreams, but think too of the impact this is going to have on the growing Downtown Muskegon area!  There will be 500 students a day down there thanks to the Applied Technology Center.  Add them to the students already down there at the CIM, the business that keep popping up and of course the established places we've got and it shouldn't take you log to figure out that the demographic of "downtown" is changing quick.  Downtown Muskegon will be changing to a young, ambitious place to be supported by forward thinking educators and companies willing to invest in this community and it's people to make it better.  Folks, we've all seen the signs, but the rubber is hitting the road right now.... and it's happening.

I had a chance to sit down with Amy Swope and Dan Sybenga in the new Experiential Learning Center today to hear about all of this, and I also sprinkled in some photo's I took during the tour to give you a peek behind the scenes during the interview.  Take a look and listen.  

It's an awful lot to take in but it's also an open door to a better tomorrow on so many levels.  Better educational opportunities, better jobs, people being able to find work in Muskegon and put roots down to live here and raise families.  The pieces of the puzzle keep falling into place, one by one...slowly but surly.  We'd all like them to be together by tomorrow but on the grand scheme of things...we're approaching break neck speed on progress. It's an awesome time to be in Muskegon that's for sure.

For more on the Muskegon Community College Applied Technology Center, click on the image below and you'll go right to their website to see all the classes and programs offered.

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