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STORY May 19, 2017 | 2:09 PM

Troy Carter

Center Spotlight: Muhlenberg Job Corps Center

Published: May 24, 2010 | 4:30 PM

Washington, D.C., Trip in Review

Eight students from Muhlenberg Job Corps Center have returned to Greenville, Ky., following a whirlwind trip to Washington, D.C., from April 21 to 24. While thousands of students at centers across the nation were participating in the Earth Day Every Day Week activities, Muhlenberg's Micka Blair, Krystal Broomes, Quinton Ross Condiff, Jessica Howard, Rachel Lanier, Jonathan Martin, Orlando Mitchell, and Crystal Turner traveled more than 700 miles to the nation's capital to represent their center in receiving the Job Corps National Green Center Recognition Award.

The EDED awards ceremony, held on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, at the U.S. Department of Labor, was the perfect start to the students' experience in D.C. During their three-day trip, these students didn't spare any time in seeing the best the city has to offer, from meeting the Secretary of Labor to visiting some of our nation's most famous landmarks and participating in the nation's largest Earth Day celebration.

Prior to and following the ceremony, Muhlenberg students had the opportunity to see more of the capital city. Students visited landmarks including the White House, the National World War II Memorial, the Arlington National Cemetery, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Students were also able to experience and participate in D.C.'s Earth Day celebration. In between stops at monuments and memorials, they toured the Earth Day exhibits on the National Mall, where more than 100,000 people gathered in celebration of the environment. Before heading back to Kentucky, the students also participated in an Earth Day cleanup at the National Zoo.

As members of Muhlenberg's student green advisory board, these students viewed this trip as an opportunity to learn more about green practices and take key messages back to the Job Corps community.

"This experience has taught our students that being green is a lifestyle commitment," said Kenny Brown, center director of Muhlenberg Job Corps Center. "It's my hope that Muhlenberg will continue to serve as an environmental ambassador for the Job Corps program and for our greater community."

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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Muhlenberg Job Corps Center Is Still Thriving on Green Culture

Published: May 19, 2011 | 9:23 AM

Last April, eight students from the Muhlenberg Job Corps Center, in Greenville, Ky., traveled to Washington, D.C., to accept the National Green Center Recognition Award. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis recognized these students and other Muhlenberg representatives for the center's outstanding efforts in energy and water conservation, installation of energy-efficient materials, and green student training projects.

Center Director Kenny Brown, who accompanied the students on the trip, said at the time, “This experience has taught our students that environmental awareness is a lifestyle commitment. It's my hope that Muhlenberg will continue to serve as an environmental ambassador for the Job Corps program and for our greater community.”

One year later, it's safe to say Mr. Brown's hope has become a reality. When the eight students returned from Washington, they brought with them a renewed commitment to energy-efficiency and sustainability, which they fervently passed along to the rest of the center. By the end of 2010, Muhlenberg had saved approximately $77,000 on gas, electricity, and water as a result of its energy-efficient upgrades.

The center is now accustomed to huge energy savings from its low-voltage lights; reinforced insulation; 85 new double-pane windows and 94 new doors with insulating sweeps; low-flow toilets, showerheads, and washing machines; instant, tankless water heaters; and new HVAC units. But all this new equipment has only done so much to instill a culture of environmental awareness on center. The rest has been up to the students and staff, led by the Student Government Association (SGA) and the center's Green Committee.

Every building on center contains a 55-gallon recycling container, and drains have been installed around several buildings to collect water, which is then used to irrigate flowerbeds, saving the center an estimated 13,440 gallons of water per year. The SGA also mandates that programmable thermostats be set to 68 degrees during the winter and 75 degrees during the summer.

In addition to these efforts, no project has been more indicative of Muhlenberg's innovative approach to sustainability than its move to a tray-less food system in the cafeteria. The center no longer needs to use water, electricity or cleaning chemicals to wash 1,215 trays every day. As a result, the center saves approximately 73,913 gallons of water, 47,450 kilowatts of electricity, and 156 gallons of cleaning chemicals per year. All of those savings might have been expected, but what wasn't expected was the drastic reduction in wasted food after the tray removal.

Now that students and staff can only take as much food as they can fit on one plate, wasted food is down about 30 percent per person, per day. Over the course of an entire year, that amounts to 130 pounds of food per person that is no longer going to waste.

The center estimates that the tray-less food system is saving a total of more than $50,000 per year. It's just one of many green initiatives that have taken hold at the Muhlenberg Job Corps Center. Although several of the students who accepted the National Green Center Recognition Award last year have graduated and moved on, their enthusiasm for environmental awareness and sustainability is still thriving on center.

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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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