DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - The Dougherty County School System's new college and career academy is 6 months away from opening.
Brandon Fenner graduated from Albany High this year.
He was involved in the early start program, earning college credits while still in high school.
"It's a lot more rigorous, it requires a lot more work, but there are a lot of benefits," said Fenner.
Dougherty County Schools helped him form his future, but he said some of his friends were not so lucky.
"A lot of students now are trying to figure out how can I get this done easier and quicker so that I can live a quality life due to our city being so stricken with poverty," said Fenner.
The new Commodore Conyers College and Career Academy will help those students succeed.
"The reality is about 2/3 of the jobs in the US – really don't require a 4 year college degree and our strength is going to be helping those 2/3 of students," said Russ Moore, Seamless Education Associates Inc. CEO.
The system brought in Moore, who has helped set up career academies all over the state.
"The Dougherty County region has what I believe is going to be the best college and career academy in Georgia because of the strength of its partnership," said Moore.
Those partnerships include area companies. Courses will be designed to help them fill in-demand jobs.
"By doing that the jobs that are here or soon to be here will have a work force that is ready for them," said Career Academy CEO Chris Hatcher.
The new Career Academy principal, Angie Gardner, said she saw how effective programs like this can be when she interned with a corporation in high school.
"It was a great experience for me in high school so that's why I'm ecstatic for the students that they are going to have the opportunity to experience that," said Gardner.
She thinks that once students realize what the school can offer, they will thrive.
"They're bored. They want to do more hands-on so I am sure that they are really going to take this opportunity and run with it," said Gardner.
The Academy will take over a small part of the Southside Middle School.
At this time, the first class of students will start in January.