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Labor and Economic Opportunity

Jackson County offers students diverse opportunities for college, career readiness courses

Jackson Area Career Center prepares talent for high-demand, high-wage 21st-century careers


TED CONTACT: Erica Quealy, 517-582-2961                 
JACC CONTACT: Kaci Babineau, 517-748-1436

February 19, 2019

Coby Chatters, senior at Northwest high school painting car parts in his auto collision repair class.

JACKSON, Mich.— Career and technical education programs offered at the Jackson Area Career Center provide hands-on training to nearly 1,200 students in Jackson County school districts, preparing them for high-demand, high-wage careers in 21 areas of study including healthcare, automotive technology and other Professional Trades.

Eligible students enroll in classes at the career center as a part of their regular high school schedule, while gaining real-world skills to prepare them for careers of the 21st century – the students receive an unmatched learning opportunity and the state gains a highly skilled talent pool to fill the 811,000 jobs available through 2024.

“Career-tech programs are proven to be highly successful in preparing students for their educational journey whether they choose to seek a credential, or college degree,” said Stephanie Beckhorn, acting director of the Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan. “Programs like the ones offered at the Jackson Area Career Center are at the forefront of preparing Michigan students with the skills they need for lifelong learning and career success and closing the state’s talent gap.”

Additionally, eligible students can take advantage of the Jackson Area College and Career Connection Early/Middle College’s (JAC3 E/MC) three-year program focusing on careers in engineering, CNC machining or welding—a unique education pathway for students to simultaneously earn their high school diploma, an associate degree  

At no cost to the student or their families, the JAC3 E/MC program is made possible through the strategic partnerships between Jackson County public high schools, the Jackson Area Career Center, Jackson College, Baker College, Jackson Area Manufacturers Association and the Enterprise Group.

“The Jackson Area Career Center's programs focus not only on technical skills, but also build students' academic and employability skills,” Jackson Area Career Center school principal Mark Pogliano, EdD said. “In order to prepare students for their futures, each program has incorporated completion of a portfolio and addition of industry-recognized credentials."

The career center utilizes partnerships with local businesses to create curriculum that incorporates the latest technology, training and state of the art equipment. It’s a win-win – businesses see first-hand the return on investment when talent that will fill vacant jobs is created through training they helped develop, and students get a glimpse of the promising future ahead.  

"It was an opportunity to work toward a great career so I could support myself later on,” said Coby Chatters, senior at Northwest High School and Auto Collision Repair student at the Jackson Area Career Center. “What appealed to me the most was that I could get a great education and an industry certificate without paying for it. This program also allowed me to get a job at Mackey's Auto Body as an assistant painter while I attend high school, allowing me to get even more experience in a possible career in Auto Collision Repair after I graduate.”

Earlier this month, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared February as Career and Technical Education Month in Michigan to expose students to the numerous career-readiness courses and career opportunities across the state.

Additional information about the Jackson Area Career Center can be found on their website at

Learn more about Career and Technical Education Month and Professional Trades careers at