WARREN (WWJ) — This fall, 240 juniors from 28 Macomb County high schools are getting important preparation for success as new students of Early College of Macomb, a joint initiative of Macomb Community College and the Macomb Intermediate School District.
Launched in 2010, the program allows students to finish high school with college credit in the bank, get a head start on earning a degree and gain an in-depth understanding of what being a college student is all about.
The newest members of the early college join approximately 250 other students who are in the second and third year of the three-year program, the final year of which is a cost-free “13th grade” at Macomb Community College after students graduate from high school. At the end of that “13th grade,” students can earn an associate’s degree or certificate in the program of their choice.
“What I have gained from the Early College of Macomb program is independence,” said Timothy Jacobs, a 2013 graduate of Anchor Bay High School in Fair Haven, who is continuing his studies this fall at Macomb College. “Students are responsible for choosing their own majors and classes, which gives a real sense of freedom. This program has taught me self-discipline and responsibility. I feel these qualities are important for anyone. The earlier they can be learned, the better.”
Jacobs, 18, is studying electrical and electronics engineering. He plans to finish his associate degree at Macomb and then transfer to Wayne State University to earn a bachelor’s degree.
New for the program this year is the Design Your Future & Development Academy, a new option offered through Early College of Macomb, provides students a chance to earn a high school diploma and 65 or more college credits that can be applied to an associate of science degree in product development technology. The program focuses on various steps of the design process, such as developing a creative idea, using computer-aided design to create 3D renderings, developing a prototype and creating a tangible product.
“We’ve established the Design & Development Academy as a fantastic opportunity for high school students to accelerate their launch into this career area,” Joe Petrosky, dean of engineering and advanced technology at Macomb Community College. “The resurgence of the automotive and manufacturing sectors has heightened demand for skilled design professionals. This program not only provides the necessary classroom education but also includes important networking opportunities with industry experts.”
Early College of Macomb helps eligible students get a jump on their futures by providing:
• Early college entrance: Eleventh-grade students enter a college program while still in high school. They earn their high school diplomas and attend a 13th year of school after graduation, all at no cost to themselves for tuition, fees and books.
• Early exit: Early College of Macomb students can complete the program with an associate degree or technical certificate during the three years of the program. They do that by attending high school classes in their home schools, along with college-level classes at Macomb Community College.
• Early success: By earning college credit, an associate degree or technical certificate, motivated students can prepare themselves to work immediately in their chosen fields, or continue with their educations — a year ahead of their peers — toward a bachelor’s degree.
“I have seen some amazing results come out of this program,” said Ed Stanton, Macomb director of secondary outreach. “The kids who come to us usually are good students already. But, I have seen then gain an extra measure of maturity and self-reliance. As an educator, that’s a gratifying thing to witness.”
Early College of Macomb was launched in fall 2010, with 41 students completing the first year. In May 2013, the first cohort of 25 students completed Early College of Macomb, while 17 others left after 12th grade to transfer to universities and senior colleges. Currently, there are approximately 500 students in different phases of the three-year program.
“Early College of Macomb is a challenge, both academically and personally. I love the independent environment,” said Angie Elkins, a 2013 graduate of Dakota High School in Macomb. “It has pushed me to grow as a person. It has helped me to mature, be open-minded, and see the potential in all of life.”
Elkins, 18, is working on an associate degree in business finance at Macomb Community College. Her plan is to become a personal financial advisor. She hopes one day to teach those in poverty how to handle their finances so they might find a better life.
Macomb Early College is available to Macomb County public high-schools in participating school districts. Students apply through the Macomb Intermediate School District prior to entering their junior year of high school. Acceptance is based on student records, admission test results and recommendation by the home high school. Space available is based on the number of seats allocated by participating high schools. For more enrollment information, contact Susan Meyer, Early College of Macomb dean, Macomb Intermediate School District, at (586) 228-3437 or visit http://www.ecmacomb.org.
With nearly 48,000 students, Macomb Community College is in the top 2 percent in the number of associate degrees awarded by community colleges and is the largest grantor of associate degrees in Michigan. The college’s comprehensive educational programming includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities.