Career Center Provides Jump Start Into Professions


Nerlyn Martinez-Esqueda, Editor

“I like the responsibility; it makes me feel like an adult,” says senior student Bella Cooper. 

Elkhart Community Schools offers many opportunities to students to grow in their future career field, such as taking dual credit classes, internships, clubs, etc. One of these opportunities is being a part of the Elkhart Area Career Center. Since 1972, EACC programs have allowed students to grow in their career field by allowing them the opportunity to earn certificate-level credentials. Some even put students on the path to earn an associate’s degree before graduating high school. These students apply for their desired program; upon acceptance, they do half days at their high school and half days at the Career Center.

Melissa Garcia, a senior, attends A.M. high school and P.M. Career Center. Last year, she was in Childhood Development I; this year, she is taking Childhood Development II. 

Bella Cooper, a senior,  has the reverse schedule, attending A.M. Career Center and P.M. high school. Like Garcia, last year she was in Childhood Development I and and is now taking Childhood Development ll. After high school, she plans on continuing her education to receive a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She will then use her degree to be a preschool or first grade teacher. 

Upon growing in their program, they each work a paid internship through Growing Kids. Cooper interns from 7:30-11:00 a.m. four days a week. On Wednesdays, however, she interns from 6-8 a.m. and attends her Career Center class afterward. Garcia takes an afternoon shift, working from 12-6 p.m. all five days a week. They work with preschoolers, most of whom are 4, about to turn 5 years old. 

“I love that I get to teach and care for children,” continues Cooper. During this time, she teaches the youngsters how to count, identify colors, identify shapes, read a calendar, and practice other essential skills for kindergarten, as well as helping them regulate emotions, keep a healthy and safe environment, learn manners, and how to treat others.” 

Both girls are gaining experience that will prepare for their future career. Not only will this look good on their resumes, it will provide them with a jump start into their professions.