Training at South Bronx Job Corps Landed him a Job With New York State Parks

It quiets down during the winter, but Roberto Clemente State Park in New York City averages 1.3 million visitors annually. And that requires the right kind of employees.

“We need maintenance workers. We need park stewards.”

Frances Rodriguez is a director for New York State Parks. She relies on graduates of the South Bronx Job Corps Center to fill key position.

“Partnership is great. We count on them for so many different things.”

She says students in the security, office administration, and construction programs are a great fit. And these are good paying jobs that require a certain level of training.

“They have to come with the skills. You just can’t come in for a park steward, you can’t come in and just say you want to do security. We need people who are trained.”

People like Omoniyi Alfred Oluokun who goes by Alfred. But before Job Corps, Alfred wasn’t so motivated. 

“At first I was living a life of just sitting home and playing video games.” 

He thought he could find a good job on his own. But reality sunk in after one interview in particular.

“I didn’t meet the criteria for the requirements for the job. So, I called up my cousin and I was like, ‘I need something to do in my life.’ And he was like, Job Corps!”

So, Alfred enrolled at the South Bronx center and completed the security program.

“So far it’s one of the best individual decisions I’ve made in my life.”

And then he was hired full-time by Roberto Clemente State Park.

“As a young man I have a job that pays me $17.28 [an hour].”

“He did great. He was hired as what we call a park steward. Park steward is what we would think about as a park ranger. Alfred came with everything that we needed. He had the 8- hour, the 16-hour certificates, the New York State security license. And he did a great job during the summer, so he stood out.”

Job Corps was just what Alfred needed.

“The skills I learned from being in Job Corps: the success standards, the interpersonal relationships, the independent living; all that comes together, communications skills, everything comes together.”