My options were very limited without a degree. I learned about Job Corps and figured, 'What do I have to lose?'
Matthew Parker moved a number of times in his life, but the most important move was for Job Corps. Matthew spent most of his childhood in Sitka, Alaska, where he first developed an interest in computers. He was able to pursue this interest in high school, but after graduation, he realized he didn’t have the funds to attend college.
When Matthew was 20 years old, he enrolled at Alaska Job Corps, and he took advantage of every opportunity the center offered him. He was one of the first Job Corps students to complete an internship with the Matanuska Telephone Association, which began a partnership between the telephone company and Job Corps.
After his internship ended, Matthew knew he had more to learn, so he moved to New Jersey to receive advanced training at the Edison Job Corps Center. He completed an internship at AT&T as a part of his training and accepted a job at the Edison center after graduating. His favorite memory from this time in his life is setting up computers in the dorms for the first time.
Eventually, Matthew decided to look for opportunities elsewhere. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Western Governors University and accepted a position in Princeton University’s Economics Department in 2005. He works there as a technical support analyst and manager and still uses all the skills he learned at Job Corps every day, he says.
To students interested in Job Corps, Matthew said, “Take advantage of everything Job Corps has to offer. You get what you put into it, so if you put in the work, you will have what you need to start a career.”