College & Career Access Center
Quarterly Newsletter: 2nd Quarter 2018
A Decade of Dedication to Jackson County
Ten years ago, the Jackson Community Foundation unveiled the Legacy Scholarship Program, placing priority and emphasis on the improvement of access to higher education. In May of 2008, The College Access Center opened its doors to assist in the administration of these scholarships. From our beginning as a college access center, operating from a small office space in the Jackson Crossing, we have expanded our services significantly over the last decade. In 2013, our name changed to the College and Career Access Center; responding to the ever growing need to include equal support to skilled trades and work based learning opportunities. We also expanded our services by placing College and Career Advisors in each of Jackson's 13 Connected Community Schools.
Advising included 1:1 consultations with Seniors to focus on the admissions process, scholarship applications, FAFSA and financial aid planning, and all steps of the post-secondary decision making process. Advisors also participated in our middle school Kids2College program, workshops and Financial Aid Nights, and Decision Day planning. During this time, we began building the foundation for collaborations among the 13 Connected Community Schools, local businesses, non-profits, regional colleges, and the Cradle2Career Network.
In recent years, the CCAC has restructured its office to include additional Advisors and support staff. Career Advisors joined our College Advisors in each of the 13 schools; providing consultations such as career assessments, cover letter/resume writing, interview/soft skill preparation, job shadowing/job searches with students wanting to enter the workforce. We have also enhanced our summer services, providing Summer Melt Outreach to support at-risk graduates, and facilitating career development with our collaborative partners at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, the YMCA, and the Housing Commission. Additionally, the scope of our Kids2College program has been expanded to Kids2College/Pathways to Professional Skilled Trades (K2C/PPST). This program creates awareness around college as well as opportunities within the various fields of skilled trades. In 2017-18 the program was offered to all 13 Connected Middle Schools.
Also new in the last two years is the Juniors Over the Local Circuit initiative (JOLC). This program gives every Junior in the county an opportunity to visit our three local institutions of higher education: Jackson College, Baker College, and Spring Arbor University. As our programs have grown in capacity, so have our partnerships. This year, seven colleges and 12 local manufacturers participated in K2C/PPST and JOLC; hosting tours for over 1,300 middle school students and 1,200 Jackson Juniors.
As the College and Career Access Center marks its 10 year anniversary, we look back at our accomplishments which are made possible through our many partnerships, and are inspired to look toward the future. It is with great pride that we celebrate our dedication to the collective impact that is changing Jackson County.