An Emotional Reunion Between Job Corps Graduate and Former Instructor

Keith Roberson spent 12 months at the Turner Job Corps Center in Albany, Georgia studying heavy equipment mechanics. He then went on to advanced auto training at the Clearfield center in Utah.

Keith recently returned to Georgia to visit his former instructor, whose name is also Keith.

“He’s more than just an instructor, actually,” says Keith Roberson. He’s a mentor. He’s a father-figure. And he’s always there when you need it. And he’s very knowledgeable and not just in heavy equipment and cars, but in life in general.”

Keith Taylor, the instructor, was even more emotional to see his former student.

“Awe, man, I’ll tell you. I get sentimental. It’s a blessing to be able to take and give back to what I’ve done to change these young people’s lives. When they come in as, I want to say kids because I treat them as my children, but when they leave, they leave as young men and young women.”

Keith earned a lot of certifications, CDL, heavy equipment repair, transmissions, electrical, suspension and steering to name a few. But the skills training was just a small part of what Keith learned through Job Corps.

“You don’t need somebody here who’s just going to tell you how to turn a wrench,” explains Keith Roberson. “You need somebody here that can make you employable and be a good functioning member of society.”

“What do I tell you?,” Keith Taylor says as he turns to his former student, “Don’t ever say, ‘I can’t do this.’ You can do anything you set your mind to.”

Now Keith has an offer to work at a Toyota dealership in Georgia earning $16 an hour and after a year close to $25 an hour.

“They mature. They have the employability skills to get a job and keep a job. I’m proud. It’s like I’m a dad. I’m proud that my son’s here and he’s doing very well. I’m excited.”

Job Corps gave Keith just what he needed.

“It’s a fresh start for a new life.”