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STORY May 19, 2017 | 2:09 PM

Troy Carter

Cassadaga Job Corps Students Go Local and Organic

Published: March 11, 2011 | 9:01 AM

Students at the Cassadaga Job Corps Academy are exploring healthier lifestyles by adding fresh, locally grown options to their center cafeteria. They are also getting involved with a group that raises awareness of the importance of buying locally.

These healthy initiatives were driven from an event students and staff members attended this past summer called Locavore Kids. Cassadaga Job Corps Academy Culinary Arts students attended the event at Barlow's Mill, a locally owned organic farm, where they learned about buying local produce and received organic gardening tips for their on-center garden. The Culinary students provided a cooking demonstration using vegetables grown in their center's garden and worked at a booth providing samples of locally grown organic vegetables.

“Our community partners have been key in teaching our students the importance of healthy eating and organic gardening. I'm pleased to see so many students expressing an interest in gardening, and I hope it will teach them to lead healthier lives when they leave Job Corps,” said Janet Forbes, the Business and Community Liaison at the Cassadaga Job Corps Academy.

Students and staff began enjoying the benefits of eating fresh produce from their organic garden last summer. Students have enjoyed maintaining the garden, which includes tomatoes, squash, green peppers, and cilantro.

Construction students are also helping to expand the garden through the use of cold frames, which will extend the garden's growing season by protecting plants against cold weather. A local master gardener recently visited the center and showed the students how to build the frames.

When the weather finally warms up this spring, you'll know where to find the Cassadaga Job Corps Academy students: in the garden!

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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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