Contributed by Barbara Hunt
Employers are visiting and students are graduating and landing good jobs. It is a vibrant place and a “staging ground” that speaks to a “better future.”
Alaska Job Corps offers nine career trades and specializes in preparing young adults to be trained to work force needs. Last week three Job Corps college students were applauded by the professor of Refrigeration and Heating Technology. Daniel Mielke wrote that the three Job Corps students are top notch students who never miss or are late for class.
They do great work in classroom as well as lab. They are motivated. After 40 years in this industry, I have learned to identify people who will be successful in this career. These three Job Corps students definitely fall into that category. It is a pleasure having them in class.”
At January’s Community Relations Council, nearly 40 guests gathered to focus on the Job Corps program. The Culinary Arts class is preparing for a large public event at the Glenn Massey Theater in tandem with the Alaska State Fair and author and Celebrity Chef Suzette Lord Weldon. At the luncheon the class prepared foods and recipes from her book and met the Chef they will be working with at the gala scheduled for April.
A dedicated group of citizens in Palmer is in the early stages of planning for a public arboretum, which will protect old, aged trees within city limits. The Alaska Job Corps is happy to be working with this group on this very important project, along with Aletha Harrington from NeighborWorks—who is also preparing for their public service week in early June. NeighborWorks’ Dave LaMothe offers financial planning classes for all new Job Corps students. Job Corps considers public service, combined with career training, to be one of the strongest motivators for change and value in our society.
Several Water Waste Water students are employed now at Anchorage Well and Pump, Nana Management Service/ Alyeska Pipeline Pump stations. Job site supervisors report that students have an excellent work ethic and are well liked at all job sites.
Nearly all 230 students were able to get off center during the first week of February in order to participate in National Groundhog Job Shadow Day. A variety of employers hosted the students, including Knik Tribal Council, Spenard Builders, Bureau of Land Management, Mat Su Senior Services, Matanuska Telephone Association, Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Frontiersman Newspaper, Local 302 Operating Engineers, Valley Recycling Facility, Jack White Real Estate, Arctic Air Academy, City of Palmer, Primrose Retirement Communities, Matanuska Telephone Association, DayNight Construction, Doyon, Palmer Pioneer Home, Providence Transitional Living are all offering wonderful work base sites for our finishing students to practice and train.
After hours groups and clubs offer students additional enrichment after their class day. In addition to tutoring, students can receive instruction in writing, art, dance, organization, life skills.
This is in addition to all the standard recreation offerings of arts and crafts, basketball, aerobics, pool, ping pong, volleyball, wall climbing, weight training, and off center trips and events.
A Men’s Group, Rainbow Group, Youth 2 Youth, and HOPE are a few of the clubs. HOPE is a new group and their dramatic introduction began with Iditarod Musher, John Baker offering an inspirational program to all students. This was followed by International Basketball star Jessi Job Corps routinely offers inspirational programs to the students for their education, motivation and knowledge.
Y2Y participated in the community’s Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration at the MSSC along with the Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallot. This was a tremendous “I Have A Dream” presentation and it inspired many Job Corps students. The Volunteers of America’s Alaska Chapter also made a visit to Job Corps this month.
Graduation is February 26th and graduates from all nine career training areas will be walking. This is when the good life starts, for many of our graduates, from all over the state of Alaska.
Cultural diversity is one of the hallmarks of an Alaska Job Corps education. On center are many students from many heritages. On February 9, a culture parade sported traditional outfits during a spirit week.
Hmong, Yupik, Inupiaq, Filipino, Irish, English, Hispanic, Tlingit, Athabaskan, and Russian cultures were represented.
Students look forward to participating at the Mat Su Colleges’ Native Culture Club on February 16. Black History Month was recognized in the Academics and Vocational Building with a beautiful mural drawn by Raymond Myer.