College & Career Access Center

Quarterly Newsletter: 3rd Quarter 2020

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College and Career Planning During Unpredictable Times

Our CCAC advisors worked tirelessly this Summer planning the transition of their traditional College and Career Workshops to virtual learning formats - creating video presentations, information and communications, as well as step-by-step slide shows on all areas of post-secondary planning.

Additionally, we identified 892 Summer Melt students - focusing on underrepresented populations, students of color, low-income students, undecided students and those who still needed support in completing their planning steps. Our team performed a mighty 9 weeks of remote/in person consultations, connecting with 767 (86%) of these 2020 graduates and their families. Among the 13 Connected Schools, advisors achieved 87.5% TIP completion and assisted with 71 FAFSA applications - for a 69% completion - as of the end of August and our Summer Melt efforts .

We now carry that momentum into our 8th year of advising within Jackson's 13 Connected Community Schools and at our Center. Advisors are working on-site in some of those schools, remotely at others, or a hybrid of both approaches. We are confident that, although this year of advising during the pandemic will look very different, we will continue to serve Jackson County effectively with commitment to our mission: Navigating ALL Jackson County residents to productive career paths through the pursuit of appropriate career training or post-secondary education.

Making Health and Safety our #1 Priority

A Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

The College & Career Access Center continues to work with local, regional and national partners to ensure equity, diversity, and inclusion remain embedded principles in everything we do. This includes placing an emphasis on closing the educational barriers to our underserved populations - students of color, low income students, and first generation students. There is a positive progression among our 2019 graduates, as evidenced by 53.6% of our black Seniors entering into a post-secondary institution, compared to 55.5% of the overall county. However, at 44.6%, there is a significantly wider gap for economically disadvantaged students. We are committed to closing these gaps and disparities.

As a team, the CCAC has also built awareness and professional/educational development into our work structure, creating a Learn, Plan, Inform, Advise, Organize model. We use this format to guide our student/client consultations but also as a framework for our own personal growth. This involves reading books and articles, watching video series, attending webinars, and conferences and participating in workshops - reviewing our learnings and reflecting as a team.

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Cross-Cultural Conversations - A Series of Dialogues for More Equitable Communities - Our team participated in this virtual introduction offered by the Nonprofit Network of Jackson. The workshop allowed attendees to share stories of their own personal journeys and cross-cultural landscapes. This introduction will be followed by future sessions which will expand upon concepts and best practices developed during previous conversations.

National College Attainment Network (NCAN) - "Marching Toward Equity." As a team, we attended this national conference - a three day schedule of plenary and workshop sessions on the theme of 'equity within college access.' Though the event was virtual this year, it proved to be an impressive and record-breaking attendance for an NCAN conference. Over 1,300 individuals joined online. We are encouraged that the theme of Equity resonated so strongly on the national level and provided rich content for our future team discussions.

Meet the CCAC Students of the Month: 2019-20

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Each month, the CCAC nominates a student from one of the 13 Connected Community Schools to feature and showcase on our social media platforms. We look for students who have a unique story, often making noteworthy contributions to their school or community. The 2019-20 academic year was extremely challenging and there was no shortage of students making extraordinary sacrifices or overcoming obstacles. We are proud of the students we nominated and congratulate them on their perseverance over the past year.

The CCAC Quarterly Business Highlight

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The College and Career Access Center’s Quarterly Business Highlight is dedicated to local Jackson businesses that offer unique and valuable services to the community. This quarter, we recognize a business that has worked diligently to overcome the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Sisterhood of Strong, owned by Jackson’s own Theresa Horne since 2017, is reaching out to the community virtually to assist people in remaining physically and emotionally healthy during these difficult times.

After years of personal work and sacrifice to achieve a healthier lifestyle, Theresa transformed her body and mind by taking control of her physical fitness and nutrition. Seeing the effects her regimen had on her mental and emotional well-being, inspired her to become a certified personal trainer and began teaching fitness classes through the Jackson YMCA.

Theresa was looking for her own brick and mortar facility when the coronavirus hit. She quickly shifted and began to offer classes virtually. She now offers 6 classes as well as fitness coaching and nutrition and mindset coaching for, as Theresa calls it, your “soulistic health.” Theresa believes strongly that ignoring social and emotional aspects of health, keeps people from living a healthy balanced lifestyle. She explains, “By taking care of your body and processing the emotions that have led to unhealthy choices or not caring for yourself fully, you can stay on the path to a lifetime of healthy choices and reach your fitness goals.”

Theresa’s class options at her website:

or contact Sisterhood of Strong at (517) 937-3185.

Introducing the CCAC Pathways to Success Series

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Also, this year, we created our video series Pathways to Success. Beginning with our own CCAC advisors and now focusing on the community, we will continue to share inspiring stories of success with a focus on sources of support, obstacles and valuable insights.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter or visit our CCAC website -

for current Testimonials and updated posts on our

Student of the Month

Quarterly Business Highlight

Pathways to Success:

CCAC Partnership with Consumers Energy - Dream Maker

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In March, Consumers Energy CEO, Patti Poppe, and her husband, Eric Poppe, began the Dream Maker Fund and stated their plan to, “provide meaningful impact in our hometown of Jackson and across the state.” The fund would eventually come to address immediate emergency relief to small businesses located in Jackson County that were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Dream Maker received 787 requests for assistance and provided 297 grants, totaling $1,015,370 in support to approximately 2,000 Jackson-area workers

The CCAC is proud to announce our partnership with the Dream Maker initiative, which will involve hiring a Lead Dream Maker to coordinate and oversee a team of six part-time Dream Makers around the state of Michigan. The team will engage students ranging from middle to high school to explore exciting careers to ignite their interest and aspirations. Dream Makers will work together with parents and students to provide resources, connections, and career opportunities going forward. Emphasis will be placed on the value of engaging with a FIRST Robotics team as well as earning potential, and high demand careers - whether in STEM, the arts, or professional trades.

Governor Whitmer's Futures for Frontliners

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On September 10, Gov. Whitmer launched the new Futures for Frontliners Program to offer essential, frontline workers a tuition-free path to community college. This state scholarship initiative is designed for Michigan residents who do not have a college degree and who worked in essential industries during the state COVID-19 shutdown from April 1 – June 30 of 2020. Under the plan, frontline workers will receive tuition-free access to local community college to pursue an associate degree or skilled trade certification. Students may attend either full-time or part-time while continuing their employment. To be eligible, the frontliner must:

  • be a Michigan resident
  • have worked in an essential industry, at least part-time, for 11 of the 13 weeks between April 1 – June 30, 2020
  • have been required by their job to work outside the home at least some of the time between April 1 – June 30, 2020
  • not have previously earned an associate or bachelor's degree
  • not be in default on a Federal student loan
  • complete a Futures for Frontliners scholarship

The scholarship application deadline is December 31, 2020 at 11:59 pm

For More Information on This Valuable Program :

Upcoming Events and Initiatives

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Complete to Compete -The College and Career Access Center is excited to announce "Complete to Compete" to Seniors from Jackson's 13 Connected Community Schools! Complete to Compete will run from September 1, 2020 - May 1, 2021. There will be prizes for each district as well as countywide prizes for students completing all of their planning steps for college and/or career! During one-on-one consultations with their College and Career Advisor, students can enter to win each time they complete one of the steps! College and Career=Cash and prizes from the CCAC!

Competition prizes aren't only for individual students. They are for schools, too! Winning high schools will receive mini-grants to use toward Decision Day celebrations. Talk to your Advisor and find out how to apply.

For More Details:

Fun Fall FAFSA - Mark Your Calendars! Saturday, October 17th The College & Career Access Center will hold its annual Fun Fall FAFSA Event. This will be a hybrid on-site and Zoom party. Students can come see us in our Jackson Crossing office or stay home in the comfort of their pajamas and attend virtually. The event will run from 11am - 7:00 pm

However students choose to attend, they should plan to provide: Student and Parent/Guardian:

  • Social Security Numbers
  • Dates of Birth
  • Individual Email Address
  • 2019 Tax Information

On-site - advisors will be on hand to offer assistance in completing their FAFSA, following appropriate safety precautions - face masks, social distancing and sanitization protocols .

Via Zoom - visit us at virtually: and enter the Meeting ID: 851 5583 6348

Juniors Over the Local Circuit - This Fall marks the 5th season of our Juniors Over the Circuit program. Each year, this initiative provides Jackson County Juniors from the 13 Connected Community Schools the opportunity to visit Jackson’s three local institutions of higher education: Baker College, Jackson College and Spring Arbor University. Students tour the campuses and learn the programs and features of each school. The 2019-20 season was cut short due to the covid pandemic but the CCAC and all three colleges look forward to offering this year's juniors a virtual version of the JOLC.

Happy Birthday MCAN!

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Thank You: For Your Support, Partnership and Collaboration - Now More Than Ever #wereinthistogether

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