Yesterday, we had the pleasure of attending the first annual Academic Advisory Council at the New Hampshire Job Corps center, in Manchester New Hampshire. The council was held to foster an open dialogue between community stakeholders and identify academic best practices for increasing literacy and numeracy levels. During our visit, we also had the chance to celebrate the success of the center's very first Penn Foster High School graduate, Tyler Eaton, and present Tyler with his diploma during the monthly all students awards ceremony.

The council meeting, which was held during a luncheon prepared and served by the culinary and hospitality Job Corps students, was attended by members of the New Hampshire Department of Education, guidance counselors, principals, superintendents, teachers, nonprofits, and community colleges. We had the chance to hear about the NHJC_-_Image_2.pnggrowth and success of the Manchester center, and of the importance of partnerships between organizations within the community. Students play an active role in organizing a wide variety of community service projects in the surrounding communities. This offers students the chance to step up in leadership positions within the student government and engage community stakeholders. Council members were invited to bounce ideas off one another and share their thoughts on future collaborations within the community. Administrators also took the time to recognize the center's two most recent graduates, including the first Penn Foster High School graduate, Tyler Eaton. Tyler presented his final rigor project, having taken electives in the securities field in the Security & Protective Services career training program, and plans on pursuing advanced securities training and eventually enlisting in the military upon completion of his trade studies with Job Corps.

NHJC_-_Image_3.pngHaving recently celebrated their grand opening on October 19th, 2015, the newest Job Corps center boasts state-of-the-art training facilities, tech-enabled blended learning classrooms and dormitories which house over 200 students between the ages of 16 to 24. The center maintains a strong focus on rigor and retention, and preparing students to either pursue advanced trades, college, or the military. The center provides a wide variety of foundational skills courses, and once students reach a ninth grade level equivalency in reading, literacy, and numeracy through TABE testing, the center offers options for high school equivalency, including the Penn Foster High School diploma program. The high school options are based on a student's career development track, as each student can select between nine trades to study, including advanced manufacturing, electrical, nursing, clinical medical assistant, facilities maintenance, hotel and lodging, culinary arts, and security and protective services. The Manchester center has a big focus on engaging, hands-on projects, where students have a certain level of autonomy and direction over their coursework, and integrate current events, debates, and critical thinking in each class.

NHJC_-_Image_4.pngAfter our tour of the beautiful campus, we were invited to attend the monthly student award ceremony, where individuals, classes and programs are recognized for improvement, overall performance, and outstanding behavior. Students cheered wildly for one another in support for their hard work, and it was clear that the New Hampshire Job Corps center had solidified a positive and unified community amongst students, teachers, and administrators. At this time, we had the chance to present Tyler Eaton with his Penn Foster High School diploma--where he received resounding applause and a standing ovation for his accomplishments. Tyler later received the Center Director award, presented by the center director for overall outstanding academic work and contributions to the Job Corps community. Having overcome so many challenges and obstacles, we couldn't be more proud of Tyler and his peers for seeking out new opportunities, and paving the way forward for their futures.

Recommended for You: NJCA 2016 Policy Forum: The Future of Education is teh Future of Job Corps.

Photo Credit: Penn Foster.