KCC's Eastern Academic Center campus in Albion.

Kellogg Community College’s Eastern Academic Center in Albion offers opportunities for high school students to learn an industrial trade, for free.

One way for high school students to earn college credits is through a dual enrollment program. This is the case for students who attend Marshall High School, where they have such a program in collaboration with KCC.

Students who choose to go this route have a chance to earn a degree in their area of interest. The EAC offers both a welding and electrical program to those interested. Students who go through the electrical program at the EAC will start earning credits in the 11th grade, and this opportunity opens many doors without having to pay a dime.

“The program at the EAC is an offshoot of the Electricity/Electronics and the Industrial Technology programs at the RMTC,” said Danny Webb, an instructor of Electricity and Electronics and Industrial Technology at the EAC.

Webb has worked hard for 12 years to start the industrial program at the EAC and was able to offer the course in the fall of 2021 with the help of Industrial Welding instructor Preston Graham.

When asked about the benefits of earning an electrical degree while in high school Webb said, “First of all your courses are paid for by the state of Michigan. Secondly, you get a head start on gaining a degree and potentially being able to walk across your high school stage at graduation and straight into a career.”

Drew Millard, a current student of the electrical program, is currently set to graduate in May with an associate degree in Industrial Technology. When he was asked about the benefits of earning a degree while in high school Millard said, “Most of my credits are going to count towards classes I would need to take in the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) so I won’t have to pay for them.”

As most college students will tell you, it is an expensive process to earn a degree. Not only does earning credits while in high school put you ahead in the work field, but it can also save money.

But are there downsides to earning college credits in high school?

When Millard was asked about any struggles he encountered while going through the program he said, “Trying to balance sports with school and other activities. Time management was a big issue, but it can be done.”

Why should students consider going through the electrical program at the EAC?

Electrical jobs are always going to be a need in our ever-growing world that is developing around technology. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth for the electrical industry is expected to be 7% between 2021 and 2031. This creates, on average, 79,900 new job openings per year. Going into a work field with high growth projections means higher chances of finding a job in your area of interest.