Center News

Events, stories & announcements

Judge Sergio A. Gutierrez

Published: May 19, 2017 | 2:12 PM

Job Corps' motto is "Success Lasts a Lifetime" and nowhere is this more evident than in the story of Idaho Court of Appeals Chief Judge Sergio Gutierrez, who received his GED and studied carpentry at the Wolf Creek Job Corps Center in the early 1970s.

Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, Sergio crossed the border with his family and settled in Stockton, California. His father struggled to make ends meet for his six children on field workers’ wages and his mother suffered from crippling mental illness. To ease their burden, Sergio, then four years old, and one of his sisters moved to Carlsbad, New Mexico, to live with their loving grandmother in a leaky, hole-covered house that he remembers as barely habitable. Despite this poverty and hardship, Sergio was inspired by his grandmother’s wisdom and promised her that he would make something of himself.

When Gutierrez was 12, his beloved grandmother died, and he moved back to Stockton with his mother, his farm worker stepfather, and 12 other siblings. Scraping by in these conditions proved to be too much for the young man. He dropped out of high school after finishing 9th grade and fell in with a crowd of older boys that he admits were hoodlums.

Often homeless and frustrated with barely getting by on menial jobs, Sergio went to an employment office where he met a woman who recommended the Job Corps program to him. Resolving to fulfill his promise to his grandmother, he enrolled that day. This was when his new life began.

At 16, Sergio began attending the Wolf Creek Job Corps Center in Oregon. The structure, support, and serenity of the center "gave me an affirmation that I could do something with my life." Sergio quickly became a leader among the students and graduated with carpentry skills and a GED.

Transformed by his experiences at Wolf Creek, Sergio went on to earn both an undergraduate and a law degree, practiced law, and was appointed to the Idaho Court of Appeals in 2002.

Judge Gutierrez attributes his success to the Job Corps program. "I was not going down the right path, and the program literally saved my life," he said. “My life turned around when I enrolled in the Wolf Creek Job Corp Center in Glide, Oregon. Job Corps saved my life. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boise State University and a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Hastings Law School. But I am most proud of the GED that I attained at Wolf Creek because it represented a new start in my life.”

Read More

Michael Thompson and Landon Miller

Published: May 25, 2015 | 10:41 AM

From Homeless to Hope to Success: "We Wouldn't Have Made It Without Job Corps"

By: Stephanie Barber, Business and Community Liaison

Michael Thompson is from Atlanta, Georgia, and Landon Miller is from Memphis, Tennessee. They both are graduates and alumni of the Whitney M. Young Jr. Job Corps Center in Simpsonville, Kentucky.

Michael Thompson came to Job Corps because he felt a need to complete his education. He dropped out of high school due to unfortunate circumstances in his life. When he was 16 years old, his mother passed, and due to her passing, he became homeless and began to stay with many different people which caused his life to be unstable. After a period of time, he was able to stay with an "adopted" aunt, and this helped him to be more stable.

Mr. Thompson was able to refocus his thoughts and his life and began to set goals for himself. He heard about Job Corps through a television commercial and his "adopted" aunt suggested for him to check it out. He spoke with an outreach admissions counselor, and Miller told his counselor that he wanted to attend the best Job Corps center in Kentucky. His admissions counselor referred him to the Whitney M. Young Jr. Job Corps Center.

Mr. Thompson states, "The Whitney M. Young Jr. Job Corps Center staff never gave up on me. They pushed me to reach higher levels than I could ever dream or imagine. There were a few people that kept encouraging me to keep pushing: Arthell Cain, GED Teacher; Tom Scott, Carpentry Instructor; and Donna Robards, Career Preparation Instructor. They saw things in me that I did not see in myself." Mr. Thompson studied and earned his carpentry certification and his GED while attending the Whitney M. Young Jr. Job Corps Center. There, he also played varsity basketball.

Landon Miller attended Job Corps because he felt the life he was living was a dead in street. He too was homeless and lost his mother at the age of seven. At the age of eight, he was homeless. As time went by, he found himself in and out of jail and embroiled in street gangs at an early age of 13. After being sick and tired of just being sick and tired of the street life, he decided to make a difference. He had heard about Job Corps from his brother so he decided to do something with his life.

His outreach admission counselor recommended the Whitney M. Young Jr. Job Corps Center to him, and the first day he came on center, he felt he was at home. Miller said, "At last, I thought I had made it to a place where I could be safe and where I could learn."

At the Whitney M. Young Jr. Job Corps Center, Miller was a mentor, student of the month and a dorm leader. He earned his certifications in Medical Records Clerk and Facility Maintenance. He also earned his GED.

Miller said, "The staff did not give up on me. I even got into a little trouble on center, but they believed in me and gave me another chance. I would recommend Job Corps to anyone who needs a second chance in life. I wouldn't have made it without Job Corps."

Miller and Thompson are now sophomores attending Kentucky State University located in Frankfort, Kentucky. Miller's major is Criminal Justice with a minor in Mass Communications. Miller is an honor roll student holding a 3.0 GPA. He is also working in the cafeteria on the KSU campus and at a local company in Frankfort.

Thompson is majoring in Business with a minor in Political Science with a current GPA of 3.2. He's an honor roll student and has made the dean's list. He is also a Suicide Prevention Facilitator on campus and works part time at the Capital Plaza Hotel.

Both these young men have similar backgrounds: lost their mothers at an early age, no stable family to provide support, and no father in their lives; they both found obstacles and picked themselves back up after stumbling many times. The odds were against them, but with hope for a better life, they applied themselves throughout Job Corps and found the opportunity to get back on track, to complete their high school education and to attend college. Their homelessness has turned into hope, and their college path is leading them to success.

Read More

Monique Williams Jordan

Published: May 19, 2017 | 2:11 PM

With a pinch of passion, a sprinkle of creativity and a generous amount of determination, "Chef Moe," Monique Williams, has turned her culinary aspirations into a recipe for success.

Her journey began as a culinary arts student at Woodstock Job Corps Center in Maryland - the same school where she landed her first job. After several years of teaching and inspiring other young chefs, Williams became the first former Job Corps student to become an advanced instructor at Anne Arundel Community College’s hands-on culinary program.

Chef Moe was recognized during the 45th Anniversary of Job Corps celebration and later joined her Woodland Job Corps Center culinary students to cook with Chef Robert Irvine from the Food Network show Dinner: Impossible. "The opportunity to make a life-changing difference in the lives of other young people is very special to me, and I will forever be grateful to Job Corps for giving me that," said Williams.

Chef Moe’s work in the kitchen is truly inspired, but it’s her gift for inspiring others to achieve independence and success, no matter where they come from, that has the power to change the world. We can’t wait to see what she cooks up next.

Read More

Troy Carter

Published: May 19, 2017 | 2:09 PM

Like many Job Corps graduates, Troy Carter began his life in a low-income neighborhood with nothing but a dream of music industry success and a drive to make it happen. After struggling to balance his education with a budding music career, Carter enrolled in the former Chesapeake Job Corps Center in Port Deposit, Maryland in 1990.

Carter quickly graduated from Job Corps with a GED. Saying the program "helped me experience independence for the first time,” Carter applied his new skills and perspective with renewed focus to his music industry ambitions.

Today he is the CEO of Coalition Media Group, a successful Beverly Hills, California, artist management and digital marketing company. He has worked closely with superstars like Sean "Diddy" Combs, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Will Smith, Eve, Nelly, and Lady Gaga.

Carter says America needs institutions like Job Corps because building leaders "starts in school" with students who "don’t stop dreaming and work hard.” He is living proof that, if just given the opportunity, tomorrow’s leader could be anyone, even an ambitious young dreamer from West Philadelphia.

Read More