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STORY May 19, 2017 | 2:09 PM

Troy Carter

Center Spotlight: Denison Job Corps Center

Published: March 12, 2010 | 3:28 PM

The Denison Job Corps Center has generated so much attention for its commitment to recycling that a waste management association has requested to hold part of its statewide training meeting on center.

Members of the Iowa Society of Solid Waste Management will be at the Denison Job Corps Center on March 30 to learn more about the center's recycling efforts and to tour the facility.

The interest shows that "Be a Green Hero, Not a Green Zero," the newly adopted motto for its recycling program, is a lot more than a catchy phrase on a T-shirt – it's fast becoming a center philosophy that's being put into action and recognized within the community.

Students and staff members have been very busy over the past several months implementing programs and making the necessary changes to become a more environmentally conscious campus.

One recent major initiative was a center-wide competition aimed at increasing recycling and raising awareness among students and staff, who were divided into six teams of equal size.

Prior to the kickoff of the competition, the Denison Welding students retrofitted a large trailer into a recycling center with three compartments: one for cardboard boxes, one for paper, and one for glass, metal, and plastic.

Teams were encouraged to fill up at least one trash bag's worth of recyclables each week and bring them to a recycling trailer marked with their team's color-coded plastic tie. Each time the recycling trailer was emptied by the maintenance staff, the Denison JCC Impact Innovations Coordinator tallied up the total number of bags recycled by each team.

At the end of the contest, the center had recycled a total of 20,320 pounds during a six-month period. All teams recycled at least one bag per week to receive a free T-shirt, and the winning team was rewarded with a special outing to a local park.

"It was so exciting to see how much we were able to recycle over the span of the entire competition," said Denison Job Corps student Terri Hetrick. "Imagine how much waste we could reduce as a country if everyone committed to filling up at least one trash bag's worth of recyclables per week. I'm proud to be a part of Job Corps' green efforts and want to do my part to help raise environmental awareness."

For Denison Job Corps students and staff, "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle" has become second nature. The Welding students are already in the process of building a second recycling trailer that will be located next to the dorms, and the center kicked off another recycling competition on Feb. 10 that now challenges the six teams to fill at least five trash bags of recyclables per week. Keep up the great work, Denison!

Denison students and staff members are also implementing several other ARRA initiatives on center in addition to their impressive recycling efforts. Some of these projects include:

  • An organic garden that was planted and harvested by the Culinary Arts students.
  • The installation of low-flow toilets, showerheads, and faucets in the dormitories.
  • The order and purchase of three four-wheel-drive electric vehicles.
  • The installation of more energy-efficient light bulbs, HVAC units, and windows.
  • The replacement of a steamer in the cafeteria with an Energy-Star-rated appliance.
  • The purchase of recycled materials such as toilet paper, Kleenex tissues, printer toner, cornstarch eating utensils and recycled copy machine paper.
  • The implementation of green TARs in the Bricklaying, Carpentry, Facilities Maintenance, Painting and Welding career technical training areas.
  • The education of staff and students on energy-saving practices such as turning off lights in unoccupied areas and unplugging electronic appliances when not in use.
  • The implementation of a green-focused Resources Committee on center that has one representative from each dorm.

Special note – Denison JCC was one of two Chicago Region Earth Day Every Day Demand-side Management Award winners.

If you have news to share about your center and want to be featured in a center spotlight, please e-mail OJC.ARRA@DOL.GOV.

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Troy Carter

Published: May 19, 2017 | 2:09 PMSTORIES

Like many Job Corps graduates, Troy Carter began his life in a low-income neighborhood with nothing but a dream of music industry success and a drive to make it happen. After struggling to balance his education with a budding music career, Carter enrolled in the former Chesapeake Job Corps Center in Port Deposit, Maryland in 1990.

Carter quickly graduated from Job Corps with a GED. Saying the program "helped me experience independence for the first time,” Carter applied his new skills and perspective with renewed focus to his music industry ambitions.

Today he is the CEO of Coalition Media Group, a successful Beverly Hills, California, artist management and digital marketing company. He has worked closely with superstars like Sean "Diddy" Combs, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Will Smith, Eve, Nelly, and Lady Gaga.

Carter says America needs institutions like Job Corps because building leaders "starts in school" with students who "don’t stop dreaming and work hard.” He is living proof that, if just given the opportunity, tomorrow’s leader could be anyone, even an ambitious young dreamer from West Philadelphia.

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Judge Sergio A. Gutierrez

Published: May 19, 2017 | 2:12 PMSTORIES

Job Corps' motto is "Success Lasts a Lifetime" and nowhere is this more evident than in the story of Idaho Court of Appeals Chief Judge Sergio Gutierrez, who received his GED and studied carpentry at the Wolf Creek Job Corps Center in the early 1970s.

Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, Sergio crossed the border with his family and settled in Stockton, California. His father struggled to make ends meet for his six children on fieldworkers’ wages and his mother suffered from crippling mental illness. To ease their burden, Sergio, then four years old, and one of his sisters moved to Carlsbad, New Mexico, to live with their loving grandmother in a leaky, hole-covered house that he remembers as barely habitable. Despite this poverty and hardship, Sergio was inspired by his grandmother’s wisdom and promised her that he would make something of himself.

When Gutierrez was 12, his beloved grandmother died, and he moved back to Stockton with his mother, his farmworker stepfather, and 12 other siblings. Scraping by in these conditions proved to be too much for the young man. He dropped out of high school after finishing 9th grade and fell in with a crowd of older boys that he admits were hoodlums.

Often homeless and frustrated with barely getting by on menial jobs, Sergio went to an employment office where he met a woman who recommended the Job Corps program to him. Resolving to fulfill his promise to his grandmother, he enrolled that day. This was when his new life began.

At 16, Sergio began attending the Wolf Creek Job Corps Center in Oregon. The structure, support, and serenity of the center "gave me an affirmation that I could do something with my life." Sergio quickly became a leader among the students and graduated with carpentry skills and a GED.

Transformed by his experiences at Wolf Creek, Sergio went on to earn both an undergraduate and a law degree, practiced law, and was appointed to the Idaho Court of Appeals in 2002.

Judge Gutierrez attributes his success to the Job Corps program. "I was not going down the right path, and the program literally saved my life," he said. “My life turned around when I enrolled in the Wolf Creek Job Corp Center in Glide, Oregon. Job Corps saved my life. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boise State University and a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Hastings Law School. But I am most proud of the GED that I attained at Wolf Creek because it represented a new start in my life.”

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Monique Williams Jordan

Published: May 19, 2017 | 2:11 PMSTORIES

With a pinch of passion, a sprinkle of creativity and a generous amount of determination, "Chef Moe," Monique Williams, has turned her culinary aspirations into a recipe for success.

Her journey began as a culinary arts student at Woodstock Job Corps Center in Maryland - the same school where she landed her first job. After several years of teaching and inspiring other young chefs, Williams became the first former Job Corps student to become an advanced instructor at Anne Arundel Community College’s hands-on culinary program.

Chef Moe was recognized during the 45th Anniversary of Job Corps celebration and later joined her Woodland Job Corps Center culinary students to cook with Chef Robert Irvine from the Food Network show Dinner: Impossible. "The opportunity to make a life-changing difference in the lives of other young people is very special to me, and I will forever be grateful to Job Corps for giving me that," said Williams.

Chef Moe’s work in the kitchen is truly inspired, but it’s her gift for inspiring others to achieve independence and success, no matter where they come from, that has the power to change the world. We can’t wait to see what she cooks up next.

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