Program helps students start careers in Jackson

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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) -- Jackson area high school students have the opportunity to get a head start on life and their career through a program at the career center.

The Jackson Area Career Center has been offering a program called JAC3 for five years.

The JAC3 program offers a different career path for Jackson County high school students.

Through the program, students can earn their high school diploma and associates degree.

They also get partnered with a sponsored company where they earn on the job experience and money.

Dan Draper is the Assistant Principal of CTE and academic programs at JACC. He told News 10, "We are trying to harness the energy and the excitement in manufacturing from a high school age group instead of waiting for life to happen."

Dan Draper helped start the program five years ago.

He recently won the 2018 Educator of the Year award from the Jackson Area Manufactures Association.

"It's awesome to see these kids mature from 11th grade to 13th grade but find their way, I think that is the biggest takeaway, they found their way and I helped a little bit."

Students with the Jac3 program get to make some really cool prototypes.

One of those students is 12th grader Alyssa Skidmore who wants to be a mechanical engineer.

Alyssa Skidmore said, "As a sophomore, I really did not know what I wanted to go into, I really did not know how I was going to afford college and I was not sure how I was going to make all of it work together, but this was probably the best decision I have ever made."

Junior Larry Beebe wants to be a machinist.

"It's exciting, I feel like its putting me on a farther ahead step to my future and what I want to become as a career."