My name is Emily, and am 17 years old. My whole life, schooling has been very difficult for me, and I’m not sure why. I don’t have any learning disabilities that would prevent me from going to and doing it. In 2020 when the pandemic hit, I was a high school freshman with straight D’s barely passing. At that point in my life, I had accepted that I wasn’t going to get my diploma or have any type of lifelong career whatsoever. In the beginning of my junior year, I heard about the Job Corps and didn’t even let my family finish explaining before I said YES!!! I was nominated to participate in a brand new program they called YouthBuild.

I realized I looked forward to going to school and participating in events and functions. During my time in the program, I got my high school diploma and my healthcare trade certification and all kinds of other certifications such as Electronic Health Records, two different HIPAA certifications, and CPR/Basic Life Support. I got to take the military ASVAB test and got a certificate for a Personal Empowerment course and lots of essential individual life skills. There was a list of courses about basic stuff everyone in the workforce needs to have basic knowledge of. Word, Excel, Career search skills, how to use email, and a lot more. I found it to be pretty interesting since a lot of it wasn’t taught in the original Job Corps program. Even with the class time a little different than I am normally used to, through the YouthBuild program, I got a lot of career advice, money incentives, and a brand new laptop to do my school work and start my own adult life.

After I left YouthBuild and Job Corps, I filled out about 20 applications for hospitals and healthcare facilities which sadly don’t hire minors. So, I am working in the back of a house at a nursing home until I am 18 or until another educational opportunity presents itself. If I was never chosen for YouthBuild, I would have easily given up at this point, but my hopes are still high just knowing that I received exceptional training and education. I wholeheartedly believe that even though YouthBuild isn’t a well known established program, they have helped me so much, and I will forever be grateful to both YouthBuild and Job Corps for helping me in all the different aspects of my life.