College & Career Access Center

Quarterly Newsletter: 2nd Quarter 2022

Big picture
Big picture

Closing Out the 2021-2022 Academic Year

As the CCAC close out the 2021-22 academic year, we are proud to share the individual and collaborative successes made possible by our community partnerships, commitment and support of our stakeholders, and the trust of our students and their families. Our 9th year of service to Jackson’s 13 Connected Community Schools was marked by challenges, creative solutions and collective impact. We thank you all!


  • Met with 1145, or 86% of our Seniors, providing 1:1 post-secondary advising sessions virtually or in person. 936 of these were college consults, and 209 were career consults.
  • Hosted 84 college and career classroom workshops and 7 County virtual workshops.
  • Provided Juniors Over the Local Circuit - giving each Junior the opportunity of a virtual tour/admissions presentation.
  • Complete to Compete initiative allowed students to earn prizes by completing their college and career tasks.
  • Decision Day Mini Grants offered to all 13 districts to celebrate their Seniors’ post-secondary plans, with 10 hosting Decision Day events.
  • Hosted our Fun Fall FAFSA, President’s Day FAFSA, and our new Scholarship Winter Wonderland Hybrid In-person/Virtual Events at the Center.
  • Provided increased advising with our, “College Get it Done Class of 2020 and 2021” re-engagement initiative, which included reaching out to these graduates year around with a team of Near Peer “IMPACT Advisors” from the 13 districts assisting us.

Community Engagement:

  • State and National Advocacy - met with State Representatives on Workforce Development and College Affordability alongside Michigan College Access Network partners.
  • Partnered with the Shop Rat Foundation to launch their Dream Maker’s Robotics initiative into the 13 districts’ 3rd - 8th grades.
  • Partnered with the Jackson Interfaith Shelter, My Place, and Samarita’s to provide on-site college & career advising.
  • Provided Monthly Jackson County Virtual Workshops covering important college & career planning material.
  • Continued Student of the Month, College and Business of the Quarter.
  • Continued Diversity, Equity and Inclusion learning agenda.
  • Continued the Jackson County Student Anti-Racism Coalition - an advisory council representing students from 7 of the 13 districts met monthly and covered the “21 Day Equity Challenge” curriculum.

Looking Ahead:

The CCAC is excited to continue:

  • Advising in our 13 Connected Community School Districts. This will include our full portfolio of services and events of traditional 1:1 college AND career advising with students, classroom workshops, FAFSA Events, College/Career Application Month, Decision Day activities
  • Our 8th grade “Kids2College and Pathways2Professional Skilled Trades” curriculum with in-person visits to colleges and manufacturers.
  • In-person “Juniors Over the Local Circuit” - offering 11th graders from our 13 districts tours of our three local institutions of higher education: Spring Arbor University, Baker College, and Jackson College.
  • Our partnerships with Lux Languages for English as a Second Language, and Acceler8 Drivers Education classes.

These successes are made possible by the strength of our many partnerships and collaborations. The CCAC thanks all of Jackson County for making our work possible.

CCAC Data Website Corners

In Fall of 2021, the CCAC began development of individual Data Website Corners for each of Jackson's 13 Connected Community Schools, to capture significant college and career data points. The goal is to create a centralized hub of data, shared measurements, and statistical analysis for each district. The sites will be maintained and updated, providing year-to-year progressions in real time. Featured resources include: a video testimonial from the College & Career Access Center advisor who serves that district, data on our post-secondary goals and measurements as an agency, a breakdown of student survey responses regarding our K2C/PPST and Juniors Over the Local Circuit initiatives, as well as statistical data for our local scholarships through the Jackson Community foundation and the Bill & Vi Sigmund Foundation.

These Data Corners provide our students, parents, collaborators and stakeholders with valuable information on services offered by the CCAC and demonstrate the collective impact that our collaborations and partnerships have on Jackson County. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with the 13 districts and take pride in our shared measurements. To view our work, please visit the links below:

School District Links:

Columbia Central Concord Davinci East Jackson Grass Lake Hanover Horton Jackson High

Michigan Center Napoleon Northwest Springport Vandercook Lake Western

Jackson County

The CCAC Virtual Planning Workshop Series

Big picture
Since the beginning of the pandemic, in March of 2020, the CCAC has been creatively building models to deliver our services to students and their families. Covering a broad range of topics, the CCAC virtual planning workshop series has proven to be an efficient means of offering information to a larger audience as well as a practical way to complete planning steps from the comfort of home. Monthly topics include: college and scholarship action plans and applications, FAFSA completion, resume/cover letter construction, and Decision Day planning.

Each Workshop is an hour in length and designed to deliver resources, detailed topic outlines, and tutorial instruction. The workshop presenter also reserves time at the end of each workshop to answer student questions on any planning topic and to provide virtual assistance in completing applications and other planning processes. On May 11, The CCAC wrapped up its 2021-22 calendar, but we look forward to beginning our next series on September 14, 2022.

Meet the CCAC's Newest Advisor

Big picture

The College & Career Access Center is excited to introduce the latest addition to our dedicated team of advisors. Jorge Rodriguez, who hails from the South Side are of Chicago, comes to the CCAC from San Antonio, Texas. Jorge graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Sociology. After completing an active-duty tour with the U.S. Navy, Mr. Rodriguez interned and pursued a position working with the Department of Family & Protective Services for the state of Texas.

Most recently, Jorge moved to Michigan to explore new opportunities and achieve higher education. He interviewed and was offered a position with the CCAC in May, eagerly jumping in to participate with our end-of-year administrative meetings within the 13 Connected School districts, planning and supporting Decision Day celebrations and kicking off our Summer Outreach and Robotics with our partners at the MLK Recreation Center and Jackson Housing Commission. In the Fall, Jorge will be the CCAC advisor to Northwest high School, Napoleon High School and East Jackson High.

A Return to In-Person JOLC and K2C/PPST

Big picture

In May 2022, the CCAC wrapped a 6th season of its Juniors Over the Local Circuit (JOLC) initiative. JOLC offers every Junior from Jackson's 13 Connected Community School districts the opportunity to take a day long circuit tour of our three local institutions of higher education - Baker College, Jackson College, and Spring Arbor University. Included is a guided tour of the campus as well as an Admissions presentation that covers specific programs, tuition, and available resources. Since the pandemic, the CCAC has continued to offer the JOLC as a virtual event. Our creative team of advisors have designed innovative models to provide students with this valuable awareness piece. JOLC has been well received and student surveys have offered overwhelmingly positive feedback. On average, over 90% feel that the tour is a beneficial use of their time and state that they are more likely to consider attending college after experiencing these tours.

2021-22 would have also been the 8th season of Kids2College/Pathways to Professional Skilled Trades (K2C/PPST). This unique program provides middle school students with not only early college awareness, but to skilled trades and the many opportunities within that field. Unfortunately, this program was suspended in 2020 with the Covid shutdown.

For the 2022-23 academic year, the CCAC looks very forward to returning to our in-person tours for both our JOLC and K2C/PPST initiatives.

A New CCAC Event to Look Forward to Annually!

Big picture

In December, the CCAC held its first annual Winter Wonderland Scholarship Workshop. Ten Seniors from Jackson's 13 Connected Community Schools attended our event. We applied for local scholarship opportunities through the Jackson Community Foundation and also focused on scholarship action plans and essay construction. Each student received a gift card for attending as well as lunch provided by El Verde - Rey de Barbecue.

All CCAC Zoom and hybrid events can be joined at:

Meeting ID: 509 656 0252

The CCAC's Commitment to Social and Racial Justice

Big picture

In the wake of the George Floyd Murder on May 25th of 2020, the CCAC took a decisive stance, declaring our position to speak up and speak out against social and racial injustice. We also began a two-year educational journey with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.

One of our resulting points of pride, is the formation of the CCAC Jackson Student Anti-Racism coalition. Our goal was to create a coalition of students from the 13 Connected School Districts who would be dedicated to anti-racism practices and racial equity. In direct alignment with our focus on closing the gap to post-secondary education for our students of color, low-income students, and first-generation students, the coalition was formed.

The goal of the ARC is to actively work toward tearing down historical systemic barriers through developing student understanding of what those barriers are, how they came into being, and how we can resolve them. The coalition educates, supports, and empowers Jackson County students to recognize and fight against racism and racial bias within their communities. The model of the Anti-Racism Coalition is structured around monthly meetings that involve group discussions and educational pieces developed through the 21 Day Equity Challenge.

Through collective discussions and group learning activities, students are provided a safe space to explore their own racial narratives and the manner in which they move through the spaces of their daily lives. In June, our co-chairs, Brian Green, Mary Rodriguez and Dr. Dominick Quinney - Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at Albion College - facilitated our final monthly session with the second cohort of our Jackson Student ARC. Through our second year, 8 of our 13 Connected Community Schools have now been represented: Columbia Central, Concord, daVinci, Hanover Horton, Jackson High, Michigan Center, Northwest, and Western High. This Fall, we look very forward to recruiting a third cohort of students and engaging even greater representation and participation within our 13 districts.

The CCAC also participated in professional development through webinars monthly, a monthly video series, as well as group readings and discussions on various social, racial and cultural themes. These learnings and dialogues culminated into The College & Career Access Center Team Equity Statement:

  • Diversity is having a variety of identities or characteristics present including race, religion, ethnicity, gender orientation, age, and socio-economic status.
  • Equity is the act of giving a person, or group of people, what they need w/focused actions that meet people where they are with differentiated strategies.
  • Inclusion is a qualitative measure of representation and participation. Inclusion focuses on ensuring authentic representation, empowered participation, true belonging, and power sharing.

You may also visit our CCAC website to view each advisor's personal equity statement:

Meet the CCAC Students of the Month

Big picture
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 2021-22 academic year brought many challenges. and, though some of these Seniors spent half their high school career under the shadow of the Covid 19 pandemic, there was no shortage of inspirational stories of overcoming obstacles and persevering toward ambitious post-secondary goals. We are extremely proud of the students we nominated and congratulate them on their diligence and positive attitude over the past year.

Welcome to the CCAC Quarterly Business Highlight

Big picture

This quarter, the CCAC is pleased to showcase a Jackson institution. The International Dog House has enjoyed great success and the loyal support of its patrons for over 40 years (beginning in 1980), located on Lansing Ave. near the corner of North Street. With its extensive menu of specialty dogs, the Dog House offers a unique and fun hotdog experience that is renowned in Jackson County. Barb Decker, IDH owner/manager, shares, “The International Dog House was the brainchild of my dad, Don Viaches, who always knew Jackson would support us.” Mr. Viaches had a simple philosophy based on QQP - quality, quantity and price. He always wanted a franchise but took great pride in maintaining his one store, doing the right thing, the right way. Aside from a fantastic menu, Barb credits the International Dog House’s success to a humble value statement that drives her business – the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you would like to be treated. No Exceptions! She does recall her mom, Sharon Viaches, offering the sound reminder – “You can’t please EVERYONE ALL the time, but our customers are the reason we are here.” Barb calls it ‘service to others in her own little way.’

The motivation behind the International Dog House is as simple as its driving philosophy. It comes down to a strong work ethic and an understanding that you won’t become a millionaire, but it’s honorable work. In terms of legacy, that’s a simple plan too. According to Barb, “I’ll keep plugging along, just as long as God provides breath in my lungs and customers to buy our product … work hard, honor God and people, and stay open to his leading. Trust him. He is good.” So far, that trust has provided four decades of success for this thriving, family owned business. Despite economic ups and downs and a pandemic shutdown, the International Dog House is still running strong.

Pay the International Dog House a visit at: 800 Lansing Ave. Jackson, MI 49202

Thank You!! For Another Fantastic Year of Collective Impact

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture