Tuesday, September 14, 2010
North Texas Job Corps Center in McKinney helps make students’ dreams possible
NTJCC is the stepping stone for so many of its graduates looking for a better opportunity.
Each Tuesday, the North Texas Job Corps Center (NTJCC) inputs new students, and every Wednesday those same students are formally welcomed via a luncheon in their honor. The New Student Luncheon is eloquently executed by the students of the NTJCC Culinary Arts program, who plan and prepare the menu and serve the new students. This event, along with other special events, is what helps set the foundation for a student’s success within the program.
Students like Illinois native Brianna Charles, Hayiza Ahmed, and Ashenafi Habteyohannes of Ethiopia are proud graduates and/or soon-to-be graduates of NTJCC. Charles will graduate this coming September, completing the Culinary Arts and ServSafe certifications. Ahmed completed her career training in Culinary Arts and will be pursuing a second trade in Nurse Assistance-Health Occupational Training.
Habteyohannes graduated in 2007, where he completed the Nurse Assistance and Electrical training program and is currently employed with Home Depot. Once he can afford to return to school, Habteyohannes plans to further his education at Collin Community College to purse Bio Technology, where he hopes to fulfill his dream of working in the health care industry.
“In my country, I would not have been able to afford the training I received from North Texas Job Corps and I will always be grateful for the training I received,” states Habteyohannes.
The NTJCC embraces students from across the globe and currently serves a student body where a little more than seven percent of its student population consists of Asian and Pacific Islander. The majority of students are African American (56.48%), white (17.96%), and Hispanic (17.59%); however, NTJCC is proud to know their program is not only making a difference in the lives of students domestically but, internationally as well.
One of the ways the NTJCC is making a difference is giving students like Brianna Charles -- who since the age of 13 lived in foster homes -- the confidence she needs to be successful. Many of the students who join the NTJCC are high school drop-outs (over 60%) and are unemployed, which alone are two factors that can affect a person's confidence.
When a student joins the NTJCC, they will quickly be exposed to a Positive Normative Culture (PNC) and participate in the Guided Group Interaction (GGI), which is an activity used to celebrate accomplishments on a weekly basis and foster a positive environment.
“Joining North Texas Job Corps Center has made my self-esteem go above what I could have imagined. I thought when people looked at me they were going to make fun of me, but instead they gave me compliments and that made me feel much better about myself,” explained Charles.
“I have become more confident because participating in the program has helped me learn more English and feel more confident when communicating with my peers and teachers,” stated Ahmed.
“Ethiopians are naturally very quiet and reserved. Coming to Job Corps gave me the confidence to get outside of my comfort zone and speak up more,” stated Habteyohannes.
Confidence matched with competence are two great qualities any employer desires from their employees. Home Depot located in Dallas (Forest Lane location) saw those qualities in Habteyohannes and hired him from part-time to full-time. Since his employment with Home Depot, Habteyohannes has been recognized with perfect attendance for one year and received the Outstanding Employee Award in 2009.
All three students have not gone without facing their share of challenges throughout their training at NTJCC. Many students when joining the program will face challenges such as: adjusting to a structured environment, abiding by a curfew, peer pressure, and/or learning how to live with roommates (students can live with up to seven roommates).
“Being from another country, the cultural differences were definitely a challenge for me. The first three months were the most difficult because I was learning how to live with other individuals, and going through those experiences were a great teaching experience,” advises Habteyohannes.
The Graduate Benefits Program also provides an important service for soon-to-be graduates, Charles and Ahmed. Charles plans to get an apartment and work to save money to pursue her dream of attending the Culinary Institute of America, while Ahmed will further her education by enrolling in the NTJCC Nurse Assistant program and then later pursue her LPN certification.
The Graduate Benefits Program is designed to help students both financially and professionally. Each graduate receives $750 of their $1,200 allowance upon completion of their Career Technical Training (the remaining balance goes to their career adviser to help the graduate with relocation and/or transportation expenses), career counseling; job placement assistance for up to six months; and relocation counseling services.
According to Habteyohannes, “the Graduate Benefits Program was very helpful to me, especially my career adviser. She kept me informed about upcoming job opportunities, as well as helped me maintain a positive attitude while waiting to find a job.”
Both American and International students share a universal goal when they walk through the doors of NTJCC; they are coming to find a better opportunity. NTJCC is the stepping stone for so many of its graduates looking for a better opportunity. It is a shared sentiment from each of these students that NTJCC is a great place to come to get the foundation you need in building your dreams.
“I think it is a great place to get your life together and get ahead of the game. Job Corps is just another stepping stone for me so I can reach my dream of becoming a chef and owning a restaurant,” states Charles.
For more information about the NTJCC and its programs, visit www.northtexas.jobcorps.gov or call 972-542-2623.
Pegasus News Content partner - North Dallas Gazette
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