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My GRCC Story podcast: Lydia Hendrian finds in-demand, 'hands-on' skills in automotive technology

March 9, 2023, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Lydia Hendrian says she wasn’t interested in a traditional college degree, and wanted to learn in-demand skills that would lead to a rewarding career.

Hendrian appeared on the My GRCC Story podcast to talk about her decision to enroll in the Automotive Technology certificate program through GRCC Workforce Training.

“I’ve always been a more hands-on person,” she said. “I knew I didn’t want to do the classic, English, math pathway for school. So, I started looking into applied technology, more hands-on programs. I like working on my car. And I like being the one in the family who knows some of the stuff, and I want to gain more knowledge and learn a lot more about it.”

GRCC has the largest automotive training program in West Michigan, with an advisory board including representatives from automotive shops from across the region. Classes include lab and lectures, with lab times increasing as the semester moves forward.

“I know a lot of people say, ‘That’s like a trade school,’ Or ‘You can learn that by actually working in a dealership and picking it up,” she said.

“Those are all very true. But it is definitely really nice to have a classroom setting as well as having other individuals who have a similar goal, and have different education levels on cars, so that you can gather knowledge from multiple bases, then obviously from your instructors, who have had years and years of experience in this. It just feels more personal because they’re able to give you that one-on-one, or that group time where they are teaching you very specifically.”

Hendrian said there are not many women in the program, but said she has felt welcomed and would recommend the program to other women who might be interested in the field.

“You need to be determined about it, because it can be a little intimidating at first,” she said. “I remember I told my dad, ‘I want to go into this, taking classes to see how it goes.’ And he said not a lot of girls do that. And I said, ‘Yeah, but I’m a determined person. I want to push through and see what happens.’ So, I did, and I really enjoyed it a lot.”

The My GRCC Story podcast is available here, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and other hosting sites.

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