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Job Corps makes youth successful

Students graduate, work, travel with DJC

By Puakea Olaisha Anderson
Special to The Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — Detroit Job Corps graduated over 100 students in a number of specialized technical fields Aug. 24.

A national Department of Labor program, Job Corps is a free education and training program that helps young people, ages 16-24, learn a career, earn a high school diploma or GED and find and keep a good job.

Latrice Canty, a DJC graduate, earned her high school diploma and a certification in homeland security.

“I came to Job Corps to finish my education, because I was in and out of high school,” said Canty. “I learned independent skills and team work.”

Davina Johnson, also a graduate, recently obtained a job at Verizon Wireless as a result of her 18-month training at DJC.

“The ceremony was beautiful and I love Job Corps,” Johnson told the Michigan Citizen. “Just when you think you can’t do anything more, Job Corps pushes you to where you need to be.”

The new graduate says she plans to enroll in Macomb Community College in the winter to pursue her associate degree in business management.

Twenty-year-old Elayna Tucker, who attended the August graduation, is a DJC student.

Tucker says she joined Job Corps because she didn’t think she could pay for college.

She will graduate in February 2013 with a certification in nursing. Tucker did not take part in the late summer graduation for good reason — a trip to China. She was one of three students selected to represent the national Job Corps program in the Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation (APEC) Youth Skills camp.

“Make the first step and everything will flow after that,” she said about joining Job Corps.

Tucker joined 100 other students from APEC regions worldwide, including Mexico, China, Russia and Japan who traveled to the cities of Beijing, Nanjing, Wuxi and Shangai. In China, these students learned the importance of career technical training and skills development to economies around the world.

The Chinese government picked up the tab on the all-inclusive trip that covered travel, program expenses and lodging.

“When I went to China I was exposed to culture exchange with people all over the world and I also experienced the Chinese culture and how they conduct business,” said Tucker. “The people from other cultures made the setting for me, I had a great time.”

The future nursing assistant says her most memorable moment was racing up the Great Wall of China.

Tucker hopes to go on to college and study education and international business. Her goal is to build a school similar to Job Corps K-12 in a third world country and help her students’ parents complete their education as well.

“I feel like here we have more opportunity and students and parents do not take advantage of it. Over there they do not have the opportunity and they don’t even know they have a chance. They think they have to work the rest of their lives and they don’t even know how to read,” said Tucker.

Detroit Job Corps, located on Woodrow Wilson and Webb on the city’s west side, has been an anchor in the community for over 30 years. Although some students live off campus, it provides residential services for 140 male and 140 female trainees in certified nursing assistant, computer repair, facility maintenance, homeland security, office administration and more.

Because of its success, many dignitaries visibly support the program.

Congressman John Conyers, Jr. was in attendance at the August graduation.

“The most important thing that comes through the training and education is that they get confidence and a realization that they have what it takes,” Congressman Conyers told this reporter.

He says he hopes every Job Corps student realizes they can make it in life, “even though there had been a bump or two in the road before then.”

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