Job Corps Students Working Hard to Push Through COVID-19 Disruptions

Job Corps Students Working Hard to Push Through COVID-19 Disruptions

Teresa at 2020 MLK Celebration
Teresa Carpentier (right) at 2020 MLK Celebration

Sierra Nevada Job Corps student Teresa Carpentier and 400 others left the center in March on indefinite leave, due to COVID-19. At the time, she was doing very well in her career and technical studies. Teresa wanted to report on her progress as she continues her education via a distance-learning program. She begins by explaining how traditional education was challenging.

“Regular high school was not a friend of mine. I didn’t get along with many students…I was so far behind in credits and had not a single clue on how to get them back.”

She learned about Job Corps.

“Wanting [life] to get better, my choice was finally clear. I met a few recruiting people from Sierra Nevada Job Corps. They had been handing out brochures and interviewing students from my high school…I decided it was now or never to make the decision.”

Teresa at Work
Teresa at Work

She enrolled in June 2019. She was nervous at first but quickly felt at home.

“These people understood my struggle and helped me in more ways than I could have ever imagined. Being able to get all of my credits in a year seemed too impossible. But with the help of my counselor and all the wonderful teachers, I was able to do so.”

Teresa chose the carpentry program.

“I was not only able to work hard but was able to get a better understanding of what needed to be done.”

COVID-19 hit and students were sent home. Teresa and thousands of young people around the country continue to receive career education at home until it’s safe to return to centers.

“The teachers started to send out Google Classroom codes,” says Teresa. “Not only were we able to continue studying, the barrier stopping us from working was no longer an issue. Plus, constant reminders of safety and well-being that continued to come from all the teachers, counselors, instructors and other staff members gave us a feeling of hope that we could one day return to the center and finish what we started.”

Teresa is hopeful and grateful that she’s had the opportunity to improve her life and future job prospects.

Teresa and Instructor Manny Gonzalez talk with Senator Cortez Masto
Teresa Carpentier and Instructor Manny Gonzalez speaking with Senator Catherine Cortez Masto

“Without the Job Corps, I would not be where I am today. I wouldn’t have the slightest idea of my future, and I wouldn’t be on the path to success. I am forever thankful for the opportunities the people at the center have let me receive and all the doubt washed away.”