Alternative high school preparing students for careers

JACKSON, MI (WLNS) – The thing most Jackson area businesses need are workers who can show up on time, pass a drug test and do entry to mid-level work in things like the skilled trades.

Well western options high school is taking the initiative to teach students how to do just that.

At Western Options high school teachers aren’t just teachers, they are asked to be mentors and advisers as well.

They work with each student’s individual needs and goals to get them to graduation.

“Every student that comes to our program will come take career exploration and we’ll kind of start pin pointing them into a career pathway,” said Deborah Sorenson, teacher.

But this school is also different because it’s focused on career preparation as well as the individual.

Students take field trips to see local businesses. They can stop and start their school work if they need to work in the ‘real world’ during the day.

And it’s this attention to the individual that’s making students successful.

“I actually was struggling in high school so that’s why I came here. I mean I have 18 credits now and I’m going to graduate a year ahead of where I’m supposed to,” said Autumn Laedar, student.

It’s all a part of Western Options’ initiative to get students ‘real world ready’ where they don’t just graduate with a diploma, but with life skills.

That’s what employers are looking for.

“By this program taking into account all of the aspects an employee has to deal with will make much more successful employees in the future,” said Mindy Bradish-Orta, president, Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.

Come fall the school will be renamed Western Career Prep High School and there will be even more electives in different fields for career readiness.

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