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STORY May 19, 2017 | 2:09 PM

Troy Carter

Troy Carter

Published: May 19, 2017 | 2:09 PMSTORIES

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.

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Judge Sergio A. Gutierrez

Published: May 19, 2017 | 2:12 PMSTORIES

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 fieldworkers’ 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 farmworker 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.”

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Douglas Branch

Published: December 17, 2009 | 1:01 AM

Douglas Branch, 24, is a soon-to-be Job Corps graduate from McKinney, Texas. Branch has been at Gary Job Corps Center since July 2009 and will graduate from the HVAC career technical training area this month. He plans to continue his education at Texas State Technical College in January. As one of Job Corps' first green graduates, he took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to tell us a little bit about what going green means to him and his thoughts on Job Corps' green focus.

Q: Do you think your green training will help you be more successful in your career?

A: Yes, I feel that with the changing economy, the green techniques we're learning on center will be applied in all industries; and if they're not, they need to be. Having these training opportunities on center will be nothing but beneficial to me and my career goals.

Q: Can you tell me about anything you are doing to help Gary Job Corps go green?

A: Our projects include a recycling program on center called Yo! Recycle! We have put up several bins around the center with this slogan. The staff has also cut down on bus and van transportation and put a new emphasis on walking. We are also are trying to conserve chemicals in trades like mine.

Q: Does Gary Job Corps Center have any other special center projects that promote a green culture?

A: We are trying to start more green programs and figure out what projects would be a good fit for our center. We're still in the brainstorming stage and hope to soon begin applying green tactics and educating students and staff members on being green.

Q: What kinds of things have you learned in your career technical training area that demonstrate an emphasis on the environment and conservation?

A: We are placing an emphasis on protecting the environment and keeping HVAC up to code. Also, our instructors are making sure all of our materials are handled properly, especially the chemicals. There is a new push in all trades to be conscious of the environment and the proper disposal of chemicals.

Q: Are students aware and excited about the addition of the new green TARs? A: Everyone is aware of the new addition of the green TARs. A few months ago new training books were introduced to the students so we would be aware of the added requirements. The overall consensus is that they know it's more work, but they understand it is only to benefit themselves and their experience level. Education never stops. Constantly learning new ways of doing things makes learning even better. Especially in the last two months, you can tell there's a push to be more green in all aspects of Job Corps.

Q: Do you plan to use the new “green” knowledge you have learned at Job Corps and apply it to your future career?

A: Yes, I plan to continue to work toward my degree to implement change and green practices in my life.

Q: What types of things can students do every day to show that they are committed to being green?

A: I am a member of the PCA, the Panther Club Association, which has a budget dedicated to implementing green initiatives. Right now we are recycling, cutting down on driving and even giving students ponchos for walking in the rain. We are also working on composting our food waste.

If you have news to share about your center and want to be featured in a center spotlight, please e-mail

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Monique Williams Jordan

Published: May 19, 2017 | 2:11 PMSTORIES

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.

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