A work ethic was instilled in me at Job Corps.
It made me appreciate the experiences that came after.
Lydia Mata discovered Job Corps in 1995 while driving by a billboard in Fresno, Calif. The single, teenage mother had, as she puts it, “limited options for finding a job and no means of paying for school.” Knowing she had a responsibility to her son and to herself, she followed the sign’s bold instructions and called 1-800-733-JOBS.
During her time at the Los Angeles Job Corps Center, Mata says, she studied day and night, learning to appreciate the center’s structure and rules. She completed thousands of hours of on-the-job experience and surrounded herself with other motivated students. She met challenging instructors, learned tough lessons, and collected valuable life skills that she now attributes to her continued professional success. In 1998, Mata graduated from the Los Angeles Job Corps Center with her certification in Licensed Vocational Nursing.
After graduating from Job Corps, Mata worked steadily in her career while continuing her education. Today she holds a master’s degree in business and healthcare administration, and a fellowship position at the University of San Francisco. Mata is a registered nurse, a certified case manager, and the California Statewide Case Management director of Medi-Cal Programs at Anthem BlueCross. She oversees 90 employees and 2.2 million members throughout California, making sure that teen moms, the elderly, and people with disabilities are connected to the care that they need. She is currently working on a California health improvement plan that will help members statewide avoid unnecessary hospital returns.
To students considering Job Corps, Mata said, “You have to be prepared and you have to really want it. It’s not an easy program by any means…but the reward and the opportunities afterward are worth it.”
August 9, 2021