ELKHART — Students are invited to check out the Elkhart Area Career Center on Sunday afternoon.

The Career Center will open its doors to the public for its annual open house from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. The center is located on the campus of Elkhart Memorial High School at 2424 California Road.

Administrators, teachers and students will be available to assist guests in visiting all available programs offered at the center and the annex buildings.

In the event of bad weather, the open house will be rescheduled to Jan. 26.

The EACC offers half-day instruction in 32 career programs in a wide range of industries, including graphic design, diesel service technology, veterinary assisting and machine trades. Officials say exploring careers now can help students determine how to proceed with their education after high school in order to pursue their career of choice.

“We’re seeing a lot more necessity for kids to have skills beyond just being prepared to go to college,” EACC Principal Brandon Eakins said. “New graduation requirements in the state of Indiana are going to address a number of skill sets, and one of the best ways that students can cross off those boxes for graduation is by getting career and technical education.”

The center serves over 1,000 students from 16 neighboring school districts, including all of Elkhart County, Penn and Mishawaka in St. Joseph County, and schools in Marshall County and Edwardsburg in Michigan.

The EACC is the only career center in the state recognized by two states’ Departments of Education (Michigan and Indiana), and the first and only career center that’s received full early college endorsement from the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning at the University of Indianapolis.

“There are several high schools throughout the state that have earned this (CELL) designation – Elkhart Memorial and Elkhart Central included – but we are the only tech-education center in the state of Indiana to be CELL-endorsed as an early college high school model,” Eakins said.

All of the career center’s programs offer dual credit through local universities at a lower price. Partnerships with Ivy Tech and Vincennes University allow the center to offer credit, early college programs and three polytechnic institutes.

This year, over 50 students are on track to graduate with either a certificate or technical certificate in their program from Ivy Tech, more than double last year’s number, Eakins said

Eakins said the EACC has partnerships with over 500 local businesses and employers to ensure its programs are relevant to workplaces that students will encounter once they graduate from high school and college.

The center also offers placement services helping students find internships, apprenticeships and employment.

Although the EACC primarily caters to juniors and seniors, elementary and middle school students are also encouraged to check out the center.

“Our objective is to prepare young people for their futures,” Eakins said. “There’s a lot of possibilities when you have 32 programs for students of all different talents to come in and get themselves ready whether they want to go straight to work or whether they want to go to a post-secondary and want a jump start on that.”

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