MTC’s “Shaping the Culture” Conference Inspires Job Corps Staff to Create Environments of Belonging
MTC recently hosted a conference called “Shaping the Culture” in Salt Lake City, UT. A positive school culture for students, and a positive work culture for staff, is a must. Each center sent employees from their residential, counseling, security, and student government departments to network, learn, and then go back home and share.
“For us to be able to achieve what we need to do, we need to have people feel comfortable,” says MTC President Dan Marquardt as he opened the conference. “They need to feel welcome. They need to feel valued and feel heard.”
Jeff Barton, MTC senior vice president of education and training, and his team worked hard to plan and conduct the conference. “Make sure you leave with a full understanding,” he says. “Because when you get back, our expectation is that you begin training folks right away.”
Job Corps National Director Rachel Torres was the keynote speaker. She was happy to hear that MTC was focusing on improving center cultures. “Just the fact that we’re having conference, that we’re bringing staff together, is incredible,” she says.
She believes we need to really listen to each other and listen to the students.
“I really think our students, when you talk to them, they do have ideas,” she says. “So, it’s really critical that we listen to our students and we listen to their voices. Ask them – they will tell you. I’m sure they will tell you.”
National Director Torres continues, “We all want our supervisor and others to hear us. It’s the same for [the students]. We need to make sure that our students know that they matter. That they are heard. And that they are welcome at our campus. Creating a sense of belonging.”
At the conclusion of the conference, National Director Torres reiterated the theme of MTC’s conference.
“I’m proud to work for the [Job Corps] program. I celebrate our differences and let’s provide multiple pathways for our student’s futures. To the counselors, advisors, RAs, personnel officers, security managers, and managers who are here today – no matter which piece of the program you touch – I do want to thank you on behalf of our students. Don’t give up on our students. Ever. They will frustrate you sometimes. Maybe even many times. But something happens and they will begin to amaze you. You are that something that happens. Each one of you is that something that happens.”