Leon Harris, a 2008 graduate of Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) Job Corps Center in Franklin, returned to his old school on Wednesday as a customer service representative for the U.S. Forest Service offering information and advice about how to pursue a career in the Forest Service. Harris was only one of a number of representatives from government agencies and companies which participated in LBJ’s first annual job fair, but he was also a symbol of the value of Job Corps and the possibilities it can open up for those students who choose to take advantage of it.
Harris, who studied Business Technology at LBJ, said his experience at the Job Corps Center had been transformative.
“It’s all the different people and a different atmosphere,” he explained. “You get to learn a lot about who people are and what they go through. It makes you a better person.”
Held in the gymnasium of the LBJ’s Civilian Conservation Corps campus on Wayah Road, 14 companies and organizations were represented at the job fair, including Harrah’s Casino, Bi-Lo, Lowe’s, U.S. Army, U.S. Forest Service, N.C. Department of Transportation, N.C. Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Royal Bank of Canada, Macon County Sheriff’s Office, The Disability Partnership, PattRick Corporation, Franklin Health and Fitness, Skyland Care Center and MB Hayes Electronics.
While some companies were simply offering information, others were recruiting or offering seasonal work.
Job Corps offers a two-year, self-paced program for students 16 to 24, many of whom have left difficult situations or for one reason or another, found it difficult to succeed in traditional educational settings.
“We provide an alternative for those types of students,” explained Marvin Ramsey, a counselor and public relations officer at LBJ. “It’s more tailored to suit their individual needs.” In addition to a high school diploma equivalency, graduates from LBJ receive training in a specialized trade or vocation.
Besides being an opportunity for the students, Ramsey said the job fair was also a way for the Job Corps Center to build local employer partnerships.
“Hopefully, in years to come, this will be a regular event for our students,” said Ramsey. He added that the local community – whether businesses or job seekers – are invited to participate at the job fairs.
For more information about LBJ or future job fairs at the Job Corps Center, call (828)524-1403.