College & Career Access Center

Quarterly Newsletter: 2nd Quarter 2023

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2022-2023: The Year in Numbers and Jackson County's Collective Impact

This year, the College and Career Access Center celebrated its 15th year as an organization! It’s been a productive year of returning to in-person college and career activities, providing post-secondary college and career exploration opportunities to elementary, middle, high school, and adult non-traditional students - both at the Center and within the 13 Connected Community school districts. The CCAC has alaways placed particular focus on closing the postsecondary access and attainment gaps for low income, first generation, students of color. Since the Covid pandemic, we have also directed our focus to the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021.

This year we:

  • met with 85 % of the Senior class, providing 1017 1:1 post-secondary advising sessions virtually or in-person. 936 of these meetings were college-focused consultations, and 209 were career-focused.
  • hosted 67 college and career classroom workshops and 7 Virtual County Workshops.
  • provided 1168 8th-grade students the opportunity to take part in a college & career curriculum and tour 6 regional colleges and 11 local manufacturing companies with our Kids2College/Pathways2Professional Skilled Trades initiative.
  • provided 947 11th-grade students the opportunity to enjoy campus tour/admissions presentations of Jackson College & Spring Arbor University, and a virtual tour of Baker College, with our Juniors Over the Local Circuit initiative.
  • gave students at all 13 districts the opportunity to win prizes for completing important college and career tasks with our Complete2Compete initiative.
  • Offered Decision Day Mini-Grants to all 13 districts to celebrate their Seniors' post-secondary plans.
  • hosted 3 events at the Center: Fun Fall FAFSA Event, Winter Wonderland Scholarship Event, and our President's Day FAFSA Event.
  • continued to provide increased advising with our, #CollegeGetItDone Class of 2020 and 2021 Re-engagement initiative, which included reaching out to these graduates year around. We now include the Class of 2022 in this effort.
  • extended our outreach into the community by partnering with the Jackson Interfaith Shelter, My Place, and Samaritas to provide on-site college & career advising.

It has been a great year of serving the Jackson Community, alongside our partners, to move the needle on post-secondary access. We look forward to our 16th year and continuing our efforts serving ALL Jackson County residents.

K2C/PPST and JOLC Initiatives Successfully Re-Launched Thanks to Generosity of Local Manufacturers and Colleges

In March of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic forced the CCAC to cancel all remaining tours for our 2020-21 Juniors Over the Local Circuit (JOLC) and Kids2College/Pathways2Professional Skilled Trades (K2C/PPST) initiatives. The following year saw a virtual model of the JOLC but the K2C/PPST would be sidelined the entire season.

For the 2022-23 academic year, the CCAC was excited to re-launch the in-person tours at the Junior and 8th-grade levels. The successful re-launch was made possible by diligent coordination with our 13 Connected Community School districts as well as the incredibly generous support of our partnering colleges/universities and manufacturers. In all, 7 institutions of higher education and 11 regional manufacturers hosted tours for all 13 districts - providing a fantastic early awareness opportunity for over 1,400 Jackson County Juniors and 1,300+ county 8th-grade students.

Kids2College/Pathways2Professional Skilled Trades

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The CCAC offers the Kids2College/Pathways2Professional Skilled Trades program to every 8th-grade student from Jackson’s 13 Connected Community districts. The unique initiative creates a college-going culture by providing students with early college and career awareness while introducing pathways to skilled trades and the many opportunities within those fields. There is an educational curriculum taught in each 8th-grade classroom. The curriculum culminates in a field trip that takes students on a full-day visit to a college or university campus as well as a tour of a local business, or manufacturer.

The CCAC greatly appreciates all the institutions and businesses that participated in our re-launch efforts. Old partnerships were renewed and new collaborations were created, highlighting the power of collective impact in Jackson County!

Take a look at what 942 8th-grade students across Jackson County had to say about K2C/PPST:

Juniors Over the Local Circuit

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November 2022 kicked off the CCAC’s 7th Season! of Juniors Over the Local Circuit (JOLC),

The JOLC program offers all Jackson County Juniors the opportunity to explore three of Jackson County’s local institutions of higher education: Baker College, Jackson College, and Spring Arbor University.

The JOLC allows students to attend presentations that explain the importance of K12 and higher education, seeing first-hand what college life looks like - walking the campus with tour guides as well as exploring programs, majors, and a variety of career options. The CCAC is committed to this valuable initiative that allows all Juniors from Jackson’s 13 Connected Community districts to explore higher education and their local options.

Here's a look at what 679 Juniors had to say about the JOLC tours:

Decision Day: A Time of Reflection and Celebration

Dating back to 2014, National Decision Day traditionally refers to the day high school Seniors commit to final decisions for their Freshman year of college. Decision Day is typically observed and celebrated each year on May 1st. The College & Career Access Center expands upon the Decision Day celebration to recognize and honor all post-secondary decisions; 2-4 year institutions, trade and vocational training, military enlistment, or direct entry to the workforce.

The 2022-23 school year marked an important first - all 13 of Jackson’s Connected districts were able to hold events that celebrated all Class of ’23 Senior decisions. And, the CCAC was proud to support and participate in each individual district’s Decision Day efforts. Congratulations and Best wishes, graduating 2023 Seniors!

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2022-2023 Senior Exit Survey Highlights

At the end of each academic year, we administer a Senior Exit Survey to all 13 districts so that we can capture data and information about their post-secondary plans and how we can continue providing support throughout the summer and beyond. We are happy to share some post-secondary highlights with you from the Class of 2023. Click on the button below to gain insight into what the Class of 2023 is planning to do after high school.

Meet the CCAC Student of the Month

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Meet the College and Career Access Center’s Student of the Month: Hilton Jones is a motivated Columbia Central High School Senior, who has a plan in place that will allow him to reach his post-secondary education and career goals. Hilton plans to join the Marines after high school. After serving in the military, he would like to pursue a degree in Health Sciences and ultimately go to medical school to become a surgeon. Hilton was inspired to pursue this path due to his own personal experience as a patient. “When I was younger, I was burned really bad and the surgeons and other medical professionals were so passionate in helping me heal that it inspired me to do the same for others.” Along with his personal inspiration, Hilton is also inspired by his best friend, Jordan, who motivates him to work harder and be better.

In his free time, Hilton enjoys focusing on his health and fitness by working out and boxing and enjoys drawing. He also plays football for Columbia Central. One of his greatest accomplishments thus far is receiving a score of 1190 on his SAT. “I was so excited when I got my scores back,” Hilton said. He also recently accomplished a strength goal where he was able to do a full back handspring! He leaves us with these motivational words for his peers: “Try, try again, and if you fail, keep trying.” What great words for all of us to live by. Thank you for being an inspiration, Hilton!

Fun Fact: Hilton is working with the CCAC this Summer as an IMPACT Advisor!

Welcome to the CCAC Business of the Quarter

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The CCAC is pleased to highlight Heavenly Bakes and Cakes as our local Business of the Quarter. Owner, Andrea Burzynski started Heavenly Bakes and Cakes in 2020 during the pandemic. Andrea has always had a passion for baking, so when she was faced with unemployment, she decided to turn her passion into a business. Over many years of baking, she has perfected her technique and used her knowledge of successful business practices to launch and scale her business. She often finds inspiration for getting creative with her baking through social media like Facebook or TikTok.

A typical day for Andrea is spent in the kitchen working on custom orders so that many customers can pick up their orders on the weekends. Andrea bakes and sells cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, and chocolate covered strawberries. Her products stand out from the rest because she creates custom, unique designs, based on the customer’s needs. Her number one goal is to provide the best service possible and flexibility for her customers. She wants them to not only be satisfied with the taste of her baked goods but also with their interactions from start to finish.

In the future, Andrea hopes to open a brick and mortar bake shop or a mobile bake shop where she can easily move from place to place to sell her baked goods. Her greatest words of inspiration for those that want to start their own business are, “Don’t let anyone tell you no if it’s something you want to do. Don’t quit when it gets hard, you will get through it!”

Be sure to check out Heavenly Bakes and Cakes and give her a follow on Facebook!

Phone: 517-435-8741


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The CCAC College of the Quarter

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The CCAC’s College of the Quarter is Gogebic Community College. Located in Ironwood, Michigan, Gogebic Community College (GCC) was established in 1932 and initially operated as part of the Ironwood Public School System. Its first class was made up of approximately 188 students. Their mission is to have a learning community that contributes to academic, cultural, economic, and social success for students.

GCC offers its students over 40 programs of study. They offer degrees and certificates in Automotive Technology, Building Trades, Business Administration, Information Technology, and Engineering, just to name a few. In addition to their academic programs, GCC has a variety of support services including tutoring and career services to help students be successful while attending the college. Outside of academics, there are several clubs and organizations for students to join including Disc Golf, a Multicultural Student Organization, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Skiing and Snowboarding, Volleyball, Basketball, and much more.

The average cost of attending GCC is roughly $6,590 for in-district residents and $8,419 for out-of-district residents depending on the number of credit hours and additional fees. They do have on-campus housing options available. Financial aid is also available to students who complete the FAFSA and qualify. GCC also has scholarships available each year.

To learn more about GCC, be sure to check out their website: Remember, the CCAC is a FREE service to help you with all things college! Be sure to come see us for assistance with your college applications, financial aid, scholarships, and enrollment tasks.

Thank You! to All Our Community Partners

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College and Career Access Center

"Navigating ALL Jackson County residents to productive careers through the pursuit of appropriate post-secondary education or career training."