Jackson County Construction Trades courses helped VC student Joshua Carrasco build toward future

Joshua Carrasco Joshua Carrasco, VC student

Ganado High School graduate on path to earn process technology degree

Joshua Carrasco got an early jump on his future by participating in Jackson County Construction Trades (JCCT), a collaboration of Edna, Ganado and Industrial high schools.

Sponsored by the nonprofit Colere Group, JCCT gives high school students the opportunity to gain valuable skills through hands-on training and helps them explore industrial trades careers while earning nationally recognized NCCER credentials.

Carrasco completed all three courses – NCCER Core Curriculum, Carpentry 1 and Carpentry 2 – during his junior and senior years at Ganado High School. After graduating in May 2023, he enrolled in the Process Technology Program at Victoria College.

“From Ganado, it was me and two seniors in the JCCT classes the first year,” he said. “The second year, it was just me. Those two years were fun. I learned a lot.”

JCCT’s popularity is on the rise, however, with 31 students currently enrolled. The courses started with 17 students the first year, then 21 students in Carrasco’s senior year.

In addition to earning nationally recognized credentials as a high school student, Carrasco developed a love for carpentry during his time in the classes, which are taught by VC instructors.

“I used to not know how to make anything with wood, but I know a lot now,” he said. “My interest built as I was in the classes. I never used to be hands-on until I took those classes. We made a lot of great stuff. We finished off a 16x12 storage building from the previous year.”

Students also built dog houses, wishing wells, picnic tables and 8x8 storage sheds as projects. These items were sold with proceeds returned to JCCT.

After taking Carpentry 1, Carrasco landed an internship at Edna’s Atkinson & Associates Builders, which he completed over the summer between his junior and senior years of high school.

“The internship was great,” he said. “After the first class, Atkinson & Associates came and talked to us about it. They said if any of us wanted to apply, we could.

“I learned how to read and edit blueprints. I got a lot more hands-on with a lot of their projects, like the Alamo Lumber building.”

Since completing the JCCT courses, Carrasco earned a spot in the Dow Apprenticeship Program, giving him another opportunity to gain real-world experience with a salary and money for tuition while working towards his degree.

“My cousin, Brandon Janis, told me about the Dow Apprenticeship Program during my freshman year of high school,” he said. “I had been waiting to apply to it since then. I started working a week before classes started at VC. I have been learning a lot. It also helps pay for school, which helps.”

Carrasco is on track to graduate from VC in Summer 2025. Once he has a degree, he hopes to work for Dow full time as an operator.

By getting a jump on college as a high school student, Carrasco laid a strong foundation for his future and a smooth transition to higher education.

“I was more prepared for Victoria College because of the construction trades courses I took in high school,” he said. “It has been a great experience.”

For more information on Victoria College’s courses and programs leading to industry-recognized credentials and careers in the industrial trades, visit or call (361) 573-3291.

The application for the Dow Apprentice Program opens in mid-January. For more information or to apply, visit and click on "Careers."