From College Grad to Trade School Enthusiast: Carlyn’s Clayton Journey

Black and white picture of Clayton employee and her family.

What one Clayton employee thought would be a helpful hobby turned into a career she’s passionate about. Now she’s helping others, and her own family, as a Clayton employee.

“The hobby that pays”

Clayton employee holding drill on a construction site. Photos Courtesy of Carlyn McClelland

Carlyn McClelland’s journey with construction started with simply needing to fix her home.

She graduated in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, but it didn’t provide the future she hoped for or expected. After graduating from college, she was left with more than $60,000 in student loan debt, a job that didn’t pay well and took her away from her growing family.

So, she turned to a trade school in 2016. She hoped to learn a few practical skills to help with any home fixes.

“I wasn’t setting out to be a trendsetter. I was just trying to learn how to fix my house!” Carlyn exclaimed.

While learning to repair her home, even Carlyn was surprised to discover she was re-constructing her own future- she LOVED building a part of another person’s life!

“This is practical skills! This is a hobby that pays!”

After spending so much money on her degree, spending even more money on her education wasn’t really an option. Carlyn was able to attend trade school because of the Mike Rowe Scholarship. Her story was also featured on the national news program Good Morning America®.*

** Good Morning America is a registered trademark of American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.*

Clayton employee working with circular saw while volunteering at Habitat WB Photos Courtesy of Carlyn McClelland

“What you do is more important than you realize”

What Carlyn thought would be a practical hobby is now a career she’s passionate about. She works at one of Clayton’s indoor home building facilities in Middlebury, IN.

__If you ask her, working for Clayton is much more than a job. She is putting her hands on a larger part of another family’s future. __

“You’re not just a factory worker,” Carlyn explained, “You actually are building a very cool part of somebody’s life.”

She also has a real go-getter attitude for every job she tackles. When we asked her about her role at the home building facility she laughed and proudly said, “I fill nail holes with putty… I’m part of a bigger team and my services are valuable!”

After learning her trade in construction and working for Clayton, she wants everyone to know the value of trade jobs.

For about a year and a half she taught high school students about trade school as part of a dual enrollment program while she was getting her degree. She stressed to her students, and now others, that traditional colleges are not the only option.

“This is a great job! I have all that education and all that crap that you want, it didn’t get me a job as good as this.”

She is also passionate about the building process at Clayton and wants others to know the benefits of choosing a prefab home.

Black and white family photo of clayton employee, her husband and two young boys. Photos Courtesy of Carlyn McClelland

“I get to be the mom that I wanted to be”

Carlyn said she’s learned a lot of different skills for home building and repairs, but working for Clayton has helped her home life, too.

“I get to have a life outside of work!” Carlyn said.

Working for Clayton has allowed Carlyn to turn what she thought was a hobby into her career. It’s also given her the opportunity to spend more time with her own family- lifestyle changes she couldn’t be more thankful for.

“The changes for me are more personal. That’s really what I’m more thankful for when I think of why I’m happy to be a Clayton employee.”

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