The Whitney M. Young Jr. Job Corps Center staff never gave up on me. They pushed me to reach higher levels than I could ever dream or imagine.
From Homeless to Hope to Success: "We Wouldn't Have Made It Without Job Corps"
By: Stephanie Barber, Business and Community Liaison
Michael Thompson is from Atlanta, Georgia, and Landon Miller is from Memphis, Tennessee. They both are graduates and alumni of the Whitney M. Young Jr. Job Corps Center in Simpsonville, Kentucky.
Michael Thompson came to Job Corps because he felt a need to complete his education. He dropped out of high school due to unfortunate circumstances in his life. When he was 16 years old, his mother passed, and due to her passing, he became homeless and began to stay with many different people which caused his life to be unstable. After a period of time, he was able to stay with an "adopted" aunt, and this helped him to be more stable.
Mr. Thompson was able to refocus his thoughts and his life and began to set goals for himself. He heard about Job Corps through a television commercial and his "adopted" aunt suggested for him to check it out. He spoke with an outreach admissions counselor, and Miller told his counselor that he wanted to attend the best Job Corps center in Kentucky. His admissions counselor referred him to the Whitney M. Young Jr. Job Corps Center.
Mr. Thompson states, "The Whitney M. Young Jr. Job Corps Center staff never gave up on me. They pushed me to reach higher levels than I could ever dream or imagine. There were a few people that kept encouraging me to keep pushing: Arthell Cain, GED Teacher; Tom Scott, Carpentry Instructor; and Donna Robards, Career Preparation Instructor. They saw things in me that I did not see in myself." Mr. Thompson studied and earned his carpentry certification and his GED while attending the Whitney M. Young Jr. Job Corps Center. There, he also played varsity basketball.
Landon Miller attended Job Corps because he felt the life he was living was a dead in street. He too was homeless and lost his mother at the age of seven. At the age of eight, he was homeless. As time went by, he found himself in and out of jail and embroiled in street gangs at an early age of 13. After being sick and tired of just being sick and tired of the street life, he decided to make a difference. He had heard about Job Corps from his brother so he decided to do something with his life.
His outreach admission counselor recommended the Whitney M. Young Jr. Job Corps Center to him, and the first day he came on center, he felt he was at home. Miller said, "At last, I thought I had made it to a place where I could be safe and where I could learn."
At the Whitney M. Young Jr. Job Corps Center, Miller was a mentor, student of the month and a dorm leader. He earned his certifications in Medical Records Clerk and Facility Maintenance. He also earned his GED.
Miller said, "The staff did not give up on me. I even got into a little trouble on center, but they believed in me and gave me another chance. I would recommend Job Corps to anyone who needs a second chance in life. I wouldn't have made it without Job Corps."
Miller and Thompson are now sophomores attending Kentucky State University located in Frankfort, Kentucky. Miller's major is Criminal Justice with a minor in Mass Communications. Miller is an honor roll student holding a 3.0 GPA. He is also working in the cafeteria on the KSU campus and at a local company in Frankfort.
Thompson is majoring in Business with a minor in Political Science with a current GPA of 3.2. He's an honor roll student and has made the dean's list. He is also a Suicide Prevention Facilitator on campus and works part-time at the Capital Plaza Hotel.
Both these young men have similar backgrounds: lost their mothers at an early age, no stable family to provide support, and no father in their lives; they both found obstacles and picked themselves back up after stumbling many times. The odds were against them, but with hope for a better life, they applied themselves throughout Job Corps and found the opportunity to get back on track, to complete their high school education and to attend college. Their homelessness has turned into hope, and their college path is leading them to success.