YouthBuild Students posing at a construction site

In 2020 the Walworth County Educational Consortium Alternative High School officially became the Career and College Academy at Gateway (CCA), the only early-college high school in Walworth County. Serving students in grades nine through twelve, CCA works to provide a flexible and personalized curriculum that offers high school to a different degree. 

“We have students who are looking to graduate and enter the world of work through certifications with Gateway and apprenticeships with our business partners. We have students interested in obtaining their Associate’s Degree and are getting it fully paid for before they graduate high school. We have students looking to transfer to a four-year university after graduation. They take first and second-year general education requirements at CCA and shorten their path to a four-year Bachelor’s degree,” says Kelly Demerath, Principal of the Career and College Academy. “Our school is small, and that is deliberate. We offer programming and relationships that are personal and specific to each student’s needs.” 

The demand for skilled workers in our communities and across the country inspired Demerath and CCA to apply for a federal youth apprenticeship grant, resulting in the Elkhorn YouthBuild program. The $900,000 grant will allow five cohorts of 10 students to work together with industry professionals to learn the building trade’s hands-on skills while completing their high school coursework. “This program provides so many opportunities for youth that bridge the school to work divide,” Demerath says. Elkhorn YouthBuild students attend school in the morning and go to the build site in the afternoon, working on a home in Whitewater for a family in need. Elkhorn YouthBuild has partnered with Community Action of Rock and Walworth Counties on this ambitious project. Demerath notes, “We are not just building a house, we are building future-ready workers who make a difference in their community.” 

Enrollment in the Career and College Academy happens year-round, with new sessions and cohorts forming in January and July. Visit to learn more about enrolling. CCA is a tuition-free public charter school. Be sure to follow CCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for construction updates, partnership opportunities, and more!