Editor's note: The "DOL Working for You" series highlights the Labor Department's programs in action. View other blogs in the series here.
Anthony West (right) shares a laugh during a visit with Potomac Job Corps Center Director Roxanne Chinn (middle) and National Director of Job Corps Lenita Jacobs-Simmons (left).
Anthony West’s high school experience was a rich one; one that included dancing, playing in the band and singing in the chorus. “I played the saxophone,” he recalls. “I could probably still play a little bit.”
Yet after graduating from Island Coast High School in Fort Myers, Florida, in 2010, Anthony was struggling to find meaningful work. He was anxious to get his life going and to venture outside of his hometown of Fort Myers, but felt stuck. What it took to get things moving was a television commercial.
Anthony saw a commercial for the Job Corps program and applied for the center in Homestead, Florida. He was accepted, spent a year there and received his Medical Administrative Assistant Certification (or CMAA), but was still left wondering what to do next.
Following a pivotal discussion with his Job Corps counselor, Anthony’s next step became clear: an advanced transportation and communications training program run through Job Corps would give him the skills and knowledge necessary to enter a number of transportation industries. “I was always interested in the airline industry,” he says. “I wanted to go out and see the world, see different areas.”
West was eager to move on to bigger and better things. His time at Job Corps has him ready to start a new job with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority in Washington, D.C.
He wrote an essay and applied, and eventually was able to enroll in the program at the Washington, D.C.-area Potomac Job Corps center. After a lot of hard work and preparation, he is now set to begin a new job as an emergency dispatcher at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. When asked what prepared him most for his new career, he credits the program’s emphasis on industry-relevant training and job search skills.
Since leaving Florida and embarking on his new journey, Anthony has been able to travel to New York City and the Bahamas. He is enjoying the life he has made for himself so far in Washington, yet he is far from finished. “I want to go back to school after this job,” he says. “I want to get into air traffic control. I think I can do it.” Based on all he has accomplished so far, there is little reason to believe that he can’t.
If you (or someone you know) would like more information on how Job Corps can provide the education and training you need to succeed in today's workforce, visit http://recruiting.jobcorps.gov or call 800-733-JOBS.
Joseph Versen is a special assistant in the Office of Public Affairs.