MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — Nearly all of the teachers and staff at Reeths-Puffer high school in Muskegon County put a new twist on their normal Thursday "college shirt day" routine.

Thursday, April 18, they left their University of Michigan and Michigan State gear at home to wear shirts meant to spark conversations about skilled trades.

The backs of the T-shirts they wore read "Have you thought about the trades?" In bold letters on the shirt's front were jobs like construction manager, mason, millwright, and boilermaker.

Students in the school's worked-based learning class made and passed out nearly 100-shirts. 

"Walking up and down the hall I hear great conversations," said Erin Burkett, Transition Coordinator at R.P.H.S. "The kids are excited and they keep asking why the staff is wearing these shirts and it's starting some conversations."

Burkett says she's concerned about a lack of students entering careers in the skilled trades. "I believe we do a really good job of pushing college," she said.

"I think we are missing a key component which is focus on the trades." "We need to get the word out to our young people that this is a good post-secondary option."

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